What I learned from Drew Barrymore

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Drew Barrymore said something so insightful that it resonated with me immediately.

She said that a simple feel good rom-com like Never been kissed, in which she starred and produced, was a successful film because:

You try so hard to do something important and meaningful. But when you strike the universal chord of goofiness, it’s far more important. And, goddamnit, we all beat the fuck-up on ourselves, going, we’d better do something important and meaningful in this world, and make an impact and a difference, and change something – and in the end it’s like, did you make anyone feel like they weren’t alone? That might be the coolest thing you ever do with your life.”

She added that you can strive to be profound, but in the end it’s the simplest things that end up mattering.

And she’s right.

I’ve found as a media teacher that my students produce better products in a couple of hours than when given weeks.

So why bother agonising over trying to get something right, when all it does is get worse.

How can we be more creative doing something quickly and simply than over a longer period of time?

A big part of the problem is over-thinking. Our brains flip into over drive when we try to be creative. This prevents the right side of our brain from making intuitive leaps. Too much thinking detracts from our creative energy.

Instead of trusting our instincts we fall into the trap of analysing. The left side of the brain, our logical side, wants to meddle when the right side is trying to work.

So how can we switch off and be more creative?

Psychologist Dr Kelly Neff suggests the following steps:

  • Accept you have a problem with over-thinking
  • Forgive yourself: our brains are hardwired this way
  • Breathe more
  • Talk less
  • Get physical and get busy
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Surrender to the Universe
  • Remember, your thoughts create your reality

And I’d add one more:  Did you make anyone feel like they weren’t alone?

Because that might be the coolest thing you ever do with your life.

 

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About the author

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.


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