Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that I’ve devoted my life to educating on the difference between personal creativity and talent. So, with the inauguration of Lifestyle Lab, I will expound once again.
Unlike “talent”, personal creativity is not a cultural thing only possessed by a few. It’s systemic and available to every human on the planet. It’s inherent, like breathing.
Where talent is a social judgment decided (and often monetized and exploited) by the “arts experts” for the masses, personal creativity is in a way, not even part of this world. By that I mean, we actually brought it with us just like our genome. In fact, the two are very similar in many respects. Encrypted within both our genetics and creativity are the very secrets of life.
The genome or DNA we brought with us is as much a mystery in terms of its true origins as is our personal creativity. Yet both are essential to the quality of our lives.
While DNA helps us understand and map our genetic and physical make up, our personal creativity helps us understand and map the complexities of our spiritual and emotional make up. It’s the same place from which psychiatrists try to draw their analytical foundations too, since personal creativity is as much influenced by our behavior, belief systems and previous conditioning as well. When you push past the fear, life changes.
In effect, psychiatry is man’s secular scientific attempt to explain personal creativity just as doctors use the science of medicine to explain the mysterious origins of our DNA.
While it’s pretty clear that not all of us are “commercially” talented, what is true is that each and every one of us is indeed creative. If we were not, we couldn’t do the simplest things like drive a car in busy traffic, operate a computer or smart phone, put on a face of make-up, or the million other everyday things we take for granted. Sadly, we often relegate the immense power of our inherent personal creativity to only handling the mundane aspects of our lives where it’s simply operating on automatic pilot. But it’s there with embers waiting to be stooked into flames. If you don’t think your creativity is there, it is. In fact, anywhere intuition is employed, or shows up, that’s actually creativity in its most basic form.
Sadly, when we continually confuse “talent” with personal creativity, we make a false judgment against ourselves. In so doing we further burry (and cut ourselves off from) one of the greatest and most powerful gifts we humans have. Under those negative self-imposed and mostly social judgments, the full power of our creativity is often never tapped into, and that’s a shame. Our personal creativity is our only antidote to the enormous stress of just being human, which is why it’s there in the first place. We just don’t realize it.
It’s through our personal creativity that we also access our imagination. But here’s the thing, where there’s fear, there is no creativity or should I say, creativity won’t show up. So, the greater our fears, then the more limited is our ability is to tap into that lifechanging wellspring that connects us all.
So, the first step in reconnecting ourselves back to our personal creativity, is to relocate that toolbox that’s been piled on by years of convincing ourselves that we’re not creative because we continue to confuse it with talent. Get it? So, it’s time to simply declare that you are in fact just as creative as the next person.
I know this to be true after teaching hundreds of creativity classes. At first I used more abstract imaging techniques similar to those used in teaching acting. I soon however, discovered a new, more accessible tool. The home.
It began with the observation that the mental interior always matched the physical interior. In fact, the correlation was so specific that I found I could read people like a book simply by spotting the clues scattered throughout their homes. Good new for some, and rather revealing news for others.
The big burning question I had from the start was always, “Okay, if the physical interior and the mental interior always match, if you changed one, would the other change too?”
In 1996, I opened up Christopher Lowell’s Decorative Home Arts Center. Under the guise of home design, using the same fear-reducing imaging techniques I’d already perfected, I set about creating classes for everyday folks who were interested in home design or just wanted to tap into their often-elusive creativity.
With their permission, for the next three years, I filmed the classes. When I removed the stigma and pressure of being “talented” and instead went about teaching hundreds of students, simple classes on easy faux finishing, in home entertaining, and basic interior design principles while posing more psychological questions to them, I witnessed an extraordinary transformation in each and every participant, both mentally and yes, even physically.
In the consistent act of being creativity, I watched hearts open, and a childlike wonderment and curiosity come out to play. Soon I was hearing how what they’d learned was having a profound impact in many other areas of their lives too, well beyond the workshops. As they told us their stories with cameras rolling, I knew I’d amassed the answer to the big question, “If the mental interior and the physical interior match, if you change one, will the other change too?” It was an undeniable and resounding YES! …And now we had the compelling transformation video footage to prove it!
That footage would become a documentary film and that film is what I brought to Discovery Channel with my next big question. If I could teach this on a regional scale, was it possible to teach it through television on a national scale? After creating a groundbreaking new format that duplicated the workshops, we made our debut.
Well, millions of weekly viewers, thousands of letters per week and huge ratings sustained for almost a decade, confirmed that the power of creativity combined with using one’s home as the catalyst, created a space where positive change was not only possible, but could be (and is)…lifechanging.
Since leaving TV, I continue to receive astonishing progress reports from people who (especially during these complicated time) have started using their homes once again, to restart their creative journey rather than giving into the fear that swirls beyond their front doors. It’s their questions and stories that gave me the inspiration to create Lifestyle Lab.
No, hanging drapes, painting a wall or rearranging furniture may not be recognized as an artform but, in the act of making these little creative changes one at a time, bigger changes are happening too. As we begin to reconnect back to our often-dormmate creativity (that’s always there ready and waiting to add depth and quality to our lives) we become the catalyst for positive change.
To help you begin your own journey back to your own inherent creativity, I’ve given you color and fabric pallets, and back-to-basic principles that will hopefully get you moving more confidently in the right direction.
As you use this pivotal time in our history to finally have the courage to reinvent your own lifestyle, just know that there are more people doing the exact same thing than ever before. So, it’s a terrific time to reboot with more support than ever!
I hope you too will begin to experience the extraordinary power of your own inherent creativity. It’s been there quietly waiting all along but refuses to compete with all that noisy your brain chatter filling you head. Enough already!
It’s time to turn off the fear, stop trolling social media or shouldering the weight of the world that’s beyond your control and do something that is well within your reach. Crank up the music, get up on a ladder, put a paint brush in your hand and splash a little color in your life. It’s a start.
You can do it!