Creative Identity and the Ugly Duckling

What is possible, what is impossible? How much do we let our “identity” define what we can do or not do in our life? These are questions that have always fascinated me.

I recently saw the movie ‘The King’s Speech’ (watch it – it’s great). Based on a true story, the film depicts the unlikely rise to the throne of England of the man who became King George VI. This is a fascinating story because George (a.k.a. Bertie) suffers from a debilitating stammer that makes  rhim unfit to be king. He’s the ugly duckling of the royal family (so to speak) – victim of numerous mockeries. Thanks to his wife, he seeks the help of an unorthodox speech therapist with whom he slowly develops a friendship. He eventually finds his voice to successfully lead the country against Nazi Germany. The ugly duckling becomes a great king. Great story.

In this movie there are many scenes when Bertie resists the speech therapist’s efforts – arguing that he can’t be cured of his stammer because that’s what he has always known. This is a very interesting point.

This raises the powerful question of where our identity lies. Is our identity the result of past events? Or is it something that’s being recreated everyday through our actions? In other words: are you the result of the past – or are you creating yourself in the present? These are profound questions.

Many family structures are plagued by a constant focus on the past (past dramas, past failures, past mistakes). And growing up in such an environment denies the possibility of the present to unfold. But don’t be too quick to blame the parents! If you look at the big picture, our society and our common thinking also work like that: past school grades determine your future education. Past jobs determine your future work life, past relationships determine your future relationships, past eating habits determine your future weight, etc. You get the gist. For most people falling under the spell of this dynamic, there’s no reason to try anything new: the past dictates the present.

But is this absolutely true? Or does our mind play a trick on ourselves?

We know many instances when people turn themselves around: learning new skills, getting a new education, changing bad habits for good, creating better relationships… But how do they do it?

Neuroscientists talk about “brain plasticity,” the lifelong capacity for our brain to create new neural pathways. And yes, you’re reading correctly: “lifelong capacity.” In the last two decades, research as shown that the brain never stops changing and evolving. You can teach an old dog new tricks after all. This is a very big deal and a fairly new concept. My parents (and your parents) probably never heard of such a thing. This is, however, the big discovery of our generation.

In the perspective of Creative Thinking, change is the essence of life. As a Creative (someone who constantly evolves), you can embrace life as a part of your creative process. And embracing life means taking in the good and the bad. There’s no: “I made it! I know everything! I have nothing more to learn!” It’s about a lifelong process of discovery, learning, and personal evolution. Creative life, in that sense, is path of mastery.

So here is the good news: when you know that your brain is wired for constant evolution, and when you decide to bring in creativity to challenge yourself and try new things… everything changes. You realize that you’re not defined by the past or prisoner of an old identity that’s not really yours. You open the door to infinite possibilities. Your identity is set back into the present – ever evolving -, you shape a Creative Identity.

So now, the question is: in which area of your life do you see an ugly duckling? Where do you think there is no room for evolution? Askq yourself: is this really true? Is there an interesting creative angle you have yet to explore? Keep growing. Remember: all your brain wants is to evolve and learn something new. Each ugly duckling hides a beautiful swan (and sometimes a King or a Queen!).

Guillaume Wolf “Prof G.” is transforming the way we feel about creativity. The French author, teacher and mentor is showing people around the world how they can activate their creative power in any area of their lives. His breakthrough guide, “reDESIGN: reCREATE” reveals his easy, step-by-step formula, so you can learn how to think, feel and act like the best Creatives in the world – to create the results you want.

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