I was asked to be a presenter at this year’s Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment (GATE) Conference in February. Some of the other speakers included Jim Carrey, comedian Louie Anderson, filmmaker Tom Shadyac, and many other inspiring artists.
I wasn’t prepared.
That can be a very sobering realization when you’re about to speak to a thousand people.
In the middle of my panicky, epic meltdown, I had an epiphany.
In creativity (which is simply a metaphor for life itself), we have two choices.
1. We can run away. When we listen to the thoughts in our heads that tell us we can’t do something or we’re going to be an epic failure or embarrass ourselves, our first instinct is to chuck it all and run for the hills. Or in my case my car! Or grab for that bottle of wine. We compare our worst selves to other people’s seemingly put together and perfect selves and then despair. When these thoughts consume us, creativity ceases.
Or we can:
2. Learn to use all these thoughts. All this stuff going on inside of us – the fears, the anxiety, the comparisons, the worst-case-scenario-thinking – use it and make it work for you.
This is where all creativity comes from anyway. (Sure, original creative ideas are generated from the silence of being plugged into the right hemisphere of our brains that gives us access to the quantum creative matrix of which we’re all a part.) But once we begin working with that inspired idea, creativity involves a whole other step.
Birthing creativity from the idea phase into the actual application and expression of form isn’t easy. It’s hard and scary and weird and risky and crunchy and ugly and sometimes it yields amazing results and sometimes it doesn’t.
But that’s all part of the process. To disregard one part in favor of something more palatable is to throw away all the potential creativity generates for us.
It’s simply learning how to harness all of this stuff that is going on inside each of us in a way that helps us understand that that stuff is the stuff that creates. It’s that stuff that produces the work – write screenplays, expresses feeling, dances the dance, plays the instrument, acts the scene, tells a story, auditions, presents a lecture, paints a canvas, etc.
Your stuff is the stuff of creativity. Your stuff is your creative self. Your stuff – uniquely yours and yet shared by all beings – is the stuff you need to transform, inspire, enlighten, entertain, move, educate, liberate, express, and be.
Remember that next time you create. And always choose option 2.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) in Los Angeles, where it was voted the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles by Backstage in 2011 and 2012 (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read). AMAW is also located in New York and Australia.
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the CW KTLA. He is also the author of the new best-selling book, “At Left Brain Turn Right,” which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. 'Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.