Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Employing science-based techniques and methods designed to unlock creative potential, musician turned author Peter Himmelman believes he has the formula for uniting left and right brain thinking. He uses the pages of his new book Let Me Out (Penguin Random House, 2016) to share powerful and “deceptively simple” exercises designed to create more fearlessly, communicate more effectively, follow through on simmering projects and make ideas take shape in the real world.
“Wanting to be an opera singer or an anesthesiologist or wanting to run a marathon, or lose twenty pounds, or pilot bathyscaphe or tell your mother you love her… these aren’t fires to be avoided, they’re flames you want to fan,” suggests Himmelman. “So why does this protective voice regularly perceive these good dreams as threats and prevent you from pursuing them? Why is it that your’e so much better at putting the brakes on your creative ideas than you are at making them come true? And, what if you could change that,” he grills his readers in the book’s opening pages. This early hook proves tough to resist, for whose forward progress has not been gently lulled by this reality?
In the book’s seventeen chapters, Mr. Himmelman (a musician, songwriter, acclaimed recording artist, and son-in-law of Bob Dylan) chronicles his dance with that inner critic and then a “lightning bolt of inspiration” which prompted him across an invisible line – a self-imposed horizon which for years had tempered his widening artistic dreams. In that fateful moment he met in a new light the thing he had been doing of most of his life – songwriting. In that craft’s unique combination of strict structure and free-associative poetics he discovered the perfect metaphor for teaching about how ideas go from the mind an into the world. Then later, an “inner wince” prompted him to abandon his stalling and to go forward with his new discovery and launch Big Muse a vehicle for sharing his signature thought process. “In less than two years I went from merely dreaming about a new way to channel my music to working with Banana Republic, the Gap, Adobe, McDonald’s, Frito-Lay, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Wharton School, and many others. I was helping individuals within each organization learn to channel their own Big Muse, silence heir inner critic and accomplish real goals.”
One of the first steps in the author’s Big Muse plan is to unlearn some commonly held notions about what constitutes creativity and who and what should be considered creative in the first place. This invitation hints at the content’s accessibility and serves as a kind invitation to folks from all walks of life. In a lyrical style Let Me Out’s pages are brimming with personal experiences, illustrations, step-by step instructions for practice (referred to as Brain Bottle Openers) and easy to follow real-world applications at the finish of each topic he tackles. The book does not take itself overly serious which is refreshing and instills in the reader that this Big Muse business is a tool truly within reach.
In the book’s closing pages, Himmelman shares a favorite quote from the writer and mountaineer William H. Murray… “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” Let me Out makes for a terrific companion as we meet the blank slate of a new year. Know anyone in a rut these days? Whether the reader is an actuary, a baker, a mail carrier or an electrician, Let Me Out’s message and method offers a spirited nudge for one and all to roam into some new frontiers in the new year.