What makes the X-Factor in you?
The Clues of our Creativity
Clues of our Creativity are revealed to us at a very short age. They manifested as a zoned in space and time, where we were completely focused, curious, intuitive and hands on into what ever it was that caught our attention.
As we grow up and enter the “adult world” some of us loose connection with these first manifestations of our path and joy.
The realization of these 3 things can help us profoundly, define and sustain the original creative spark.
1. The gifts of Childhood
Growing up in Venezuela there where 2 things one couldn’t miss in a kids birthday party: The loud, Disco and Salsa music coming from the stereo inside the house
and The Piñata.
Now imagine a cute symbol of your childhood filled with candy and toys, hit with a stick until ripped apart by a pack of wild kids who later fight over the spilled bits. In principle this is good old fun in South American traditions, but odd thing, for me (as a Latino kid) it was terrifying.
I was the one that when piñata-time came, would go inside, and do my thing.
In my world there was a stage, an audience, and I, was Chaka Khan.
No matter where you zoned into, Creativity was that place we all had in common and for each of us, it had our own reason for being.
In our childhood we were all imaginative, we were all creative, we all had crazy stories like:
“Hey, dad left the paint outside, why don’t we redecorate the living room furniture and everything… Lets paint the chairs like clouds and pretend the sofa is a plane! Etc.
The qualities of our uniqueness were shown in the clever ways we had of putting together what we had in hand (a stick, a box, a piece of cardboard, a marker?)
That is the real X factor in the making. Our childhood was an amazing lab for experimenting, being curious, and materializing our imagination, no judges involved, so unlike, for example, The X-Factor franchises.
But, these “competitions” might explain why there are so many people who admiring the talent of others fail to see in the appropriate light their own x factor, They fail to see the distinctive in each one of them, and probably the worst would be not realizing the selective nature of these shows, when originality is all inclusive and does not stem from the opinion of a few but from the full embrace of who we are.
2. If you let yourself, YOU make the rules.
In 1917, Marcel Duchamp sends as his work of art a common, industrial urinal to an exhibition of independent artists, only to be rejected.
“Fountain”, as he titled it, might have been an irony of the artist or a true intent to protest the way people got stuck in forms of thinking or viewing the elements around them, the way they defined Art.
Years later, the piece in question went to be displayed in all great museums and by 2004 it had been voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century. It had revolutionized the way we conceived art, it marked the birth of a new way: Conceptual art.
And this is just one of so many stories of breakthrough. So think of this for a moment:
What’s good, what’s bad?
What is creative, what’s not?
Who makes the rules?
What is the point of reference?
Should we care?
3. Connecting the layers or as Steve Jobs said: Connecting the dots.
The key lies in understanding, embracing and connecting all of our layers.
As we make our way through life, we become with the many layers that construct and destroy us. Layers like:
The conditions in which we were born (premature, twins, health problems, etc.)
The rules associated to our gender,
the color of our skin,
our family’s background and values,
the communities we were born in,
the general feel of the times we were born in,
all the concepts and generalities associated to belonging to a certain nationality, a certain cast, a certain social class, politic party, group, religion, etc.
And then, way after we have left those places or think we are out of their influence, these layers become us in our thoughts.
The combination of our first Creative acts in our childhood with those layers
not only build our perception of the world but also determine our x factor:
These combinations could be similar in many ways, but never the same.
These are the foundations of that certain something, which make us different.
Our thoughts make us and challenge us everyday. The choice is ultimately ours on which of these life layers, thoughts and experiences will get the front most at defining us. That’s creativity manifesting and the x-factor that is always there. In you, in me, in all of us.