WM: So let’s say that that someone doesn’t feel like they are creative. What would you suggest in terms of helping people to develop confidence in their creative capacities?
LB: The short answer is to love your life, love the things you are doing, and do the things you love.
Also, believing in your creativity helps. It actually makes you more creative. In fact, in studies that have tried to identify variables that would predict creativity, such as IQ, education, socioeconomic status, and so on, the only variable that could reliably predict how creative someone would be was the individual’s belief that he or she was a creative person. Again, I think it helps to view your creativity as a function your humanity, not as residing in some special activity that you perform.
In addition to believing in your creativity, I think three more things are essential—an understanding of the creative process, a strong voice, and good risk-taking muscles. The manifestation formula, described in detail in How to Be, Do, or Have Anything, gives you an understanding of the creative process in total and as a sequence of events. By a strong voice, I mean that you are in touch with something that you passionately want you to be, do, or have and that—and this is important—you believe that something inside of you is stronger than circumstances. By strong risk-taking muscles, I mean that you develop experience with taking risks and seeing them through to completion. Creating requires that we take risks—that we stretch ourselves. By exercising your risk-taking muscles, you gain confidence that you will be able to realize the dreams or creative visions of your life.
Creating breeds creativity. In other words, creativity is transferable. That’s why I think it’s so important that we teach children to make things. If a child takes a dance class, that is nice, but if he makes up a dance of his own, he is gaining a different kind of experience. If she writes a little book, or makes a mock business, or puts on a play or carnival for the neighborhood kids, or writes a song, or whatever it might be, the experience she gains in creating—in making things—will enhance her creativity. It doesn’t mean the child will necessarily become a poet or a dancer or a singer or whatever, but he or she will have experience with making things and taking creative risks. This gives the child a confidence he won’t get by simply studying for and passing a test
Also, I think it’s important to enjoy the process of creating for it’s own sake, not just for the results it produces. In other words, do you want to be writer or enjoy the process of writing?—when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Do want a happy marriage or do you enjoy the process of creating intimacy and connection?—when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Whatever it might be that you are after—love the process of creating it. Identify the result you are seeking, fix it clearly in your mind, but then forget about it—concentrate on the process and trust it.
WM: You referred again just now to what you call the manifestation formula. I know this is an important part of your book. Briefly, what is it?
LB: Basically, as we’ve said, it’s a paradigm, or formula, that describes how results are created. It has eight major steps, or events. These are: The Vision, The Focus, The Desire, The Commitment, and then, The Plan, The Execution, The Feedback, and The Evaluation. While the book addresses all of these, it concentrates on the first four Vision, Focus, Desire, Commitment—because these are the essential steps involved in transforming an idea into action. Most of the book is organized around these first four steps. When you reach the point of real commitment, your manifestation is like a two-year-old child. It has through gone conception, gestation, birth, and infancy. It’s still a long way from having full adult capacities, but it can walk and talk, and has a life of it’s own.
The Vision unit looks at the value and power of a vision and considers how we can more effectively tap into creative ideas. It explores techniques that emphasize an intuitive, right-brain, approach to getting ideas, as well those that rely on a left-brain, problem-solving, approach. Both of these are equally valid ways of generating visionary ideas. Most people are more naturally inclined to one approach or the other but anyone can learn to use both. There are studies which indicate that by learning to combine use of our weaker, or less dominant sides with our naturally stronger sides, we can significantly increase our creative capacities. In fact, by as much as ten-fold. In the exercises, you will have the opportunity to use both left- and right-brain strategies to generate a list of creative visions for your life, the results, or dreams, you want to manifest.
The Focus unit examines role the conscious mind plays in the creative process and outlines techniques we can use to enhance our powers of concentration. It also looks at how we can make effective rational decisions in choosing among the life visions we have identified for ourselves. Yet since life is not a strictly rational proposition, it also explores ways that you can test these decisions against your heart and emotions to validate that they are really right for you—that you are sufficiently motivated to see them through. Finally, it takes you through the process of converting these decisions into concrete goals with specific deadlines. If you do the accompanying exercises, you will have a set of major life-time goals by the time you finish with this section.
In the Desire unit, we look at the role the subconscious mind plays in the act of creation. We recognize that creating is never a completely conscious act—that there is always a powerful role for the subconscious. So the question becomes: How do we engage this subconscious mind power? We explore four general strategies for accomplishing this, all of which rely on a single, fundamental principle, namely that the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined experience. So what we are doing, in effect, is to trick our subconscious minds into believing that we have already done what it is that we want to do. Once we have effectively done this, the subconscious mind will begin attracting to us the people, situations, experiences, and information we need to live our dreams.
In the Commitment unit, we look at what it’s going to take to go the distance. We explore specific strategies for overcoming distractions and fears. These are the big dream killers, and we need to become aware of what they are for each of us as individuals—how they block us—and how we can develop specific strategies for overcoming them. Since we don’t live in a vacuum, we look at how you can gain the cooperation and support you need from others. We also look at how you can accelerate the rate at which you learn so that you can quickly gain the information and skills you need to succeed. In exercises, you will have the opportunity to get all of this down on paper and to mark out the specific incremental action steps that will move you toward the accomplishment of your goals.
WM: How is this book different from the many other self-help books that are already out there?
LB: I have little doubt that most people will encounter new information and ideas in the book. You will find things that will inspire you, save you time, and help you avoid a lot of mistakes. What you learn in this book could be very important to you. But what you do with it could literally change your life. If you do the exercises at the end of the chapters, the book really becomes your own because it is filled with your dreams, motivations, and goals. It contains your affirmations and visualizations, your plans for assuming the qualities and roles you want to adopt, and the specific ways you will reinforce them. You will select the strategies you will use to overcome your own particular distractions and fears. You will identify the specific steps you will take to enlist the cooperation and support you need from others and the specific things you will need to learn and how you will go about learning them. And a lot more. The point is: the book guides you step-by-step—and if you do the work as you go along—you are not simply inputting information, you are literally charting your path to living the life of your dreams.
And I want to underline your dreams. There is a lot of talk about the American Dream, but I find there are about as many American Dreams as there are Americans. And that’s the point—that you live your dream. For some, that may be what we traditionally think of as the American Dream, in terms of acquiring wealth and so on. For others, different values will be more important. The idea of this book to provide you with tools to help you achieve your dreams, whatever they might be.