How come they all know each other?!
how to find your Scenius (wherever you live)
When looking back at History there are dozens and dozens of stories about specific time periods where an uncanny number of creative spirits gathered within the same school, street, building, found each other and imagined on a much larger scale that they could have alone.
There is no one leader but rather mutual influences, respect, and possibly appreciation. Every member has a voice, overlapping and yet adding something different. Sometimes there are fights, sometimes they depart, but for a moment in time, their hearts pulse at the same rate and collectively they produce a bigger vibration than they would have alone.
They don’t necessarily collaborate on pieces together, but they gather around the same fireplace, they know of each other’s presence and work, and it affects what they absorb and share back.
It’s Coppola, Lucas, Scorsese, Kubrick, De Palma…
Smith, Mapplethorpe, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrisson…
De Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, Picasso, Dali, Vian…
I grew up on these stories and it was a big part of what I dreamed about when I decided to move to Paris, and then to Los Angeles. Finding my people, the ones who would make me a better creative, the ones who would challenge me, surprise me, and push me.
This gathering of minds is what Brian Eno calls a scenius, as opposed to a genius. Instead of having one person, one filmmaker, one genius at the top of a pyramid ruling others, you have a gathering of creatives sharing and expanding each other’s abilities.
Here is Eno’s definition: “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”
That’s great, but I live in the middle of nowhere…
Up until 15 years ago, we were not equal when it came to community building. Being an introvert was a death sentence, and living in the middle of nowhere or simply in the wrong country meant you were to deal with your dreams, hopes, and projects on your own.
But today, you don’t have to live in California, Manhattan or Paris to find your people. You don’t even have to live in the same town or street of your people.
Look at Austin Kleon, Lisa Congdon, Wendy MacNaughton, Maria Popova, Oliver Jeffers, Amanda Palmer… Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, Chase Jarvis, Seth Godin, Ramit Sethi, Kevin Kelly… Casey Neistat, Jerome Jarre, Rudy Mancuso, JR, Agnes Varda…
They found each other, they follow each other, they sometimes see each other.
You might have noticed that oftentimes, two people you follow for different reasons end up knowing each other. You had no clue and yet it makes perfect sense.
Find Your Scenius
There is one common factor between all these names, whether from the 70s or today, whether punk poets, philosophers, filmmakers, writers or marketing strategists: they are makers.
They are deeply connected to their creative muscle, they produce on a regular if not daily basis, they test, they fail, they take risks, they explore, THEY CREATE and THEY SHARE.
By being consistent and relentless in their creative pursuit, they are found, they are heard and they find their scenius. You can’t be part of a scenius if once you’re done reading this article, you enter a wishful thinking mode.
I wish I knew like-minded people to make my film…
I wish I was born in America and had freedom of speech…
I wish I had money to support my dreams…
It’s just not happening. You can’t wait to find your people to create and share. Because to find your people, you need to know who you are. To know who you are, you need to do the work, dig deep, explore, take risks. Be a creative adventurer.
So, what now?
Easier said than done, I know. But there are ways. You can commit to create and share daily, that’s what creative challenges are for. While you create, you can start a blog, open social media accounts, interact with others online. All those solutions are valid and free ways to make it happen.
They are all ways I have used to find my creative community even though I lived for 5 years as a digital nomad, with low income and zero natural network. And by the way, in case it wasn’t clear until now, finding your scenius is not finding how to be a star, famous or rich. It’s about finding your people, the one that help you emulate, create and go beyond your pre-supposed limits.
If you know who you are and what you need to say, if your creativity is only asking to get out, I urge you to use these tools, to take risks, create and share. Today more than ever singular voices need to rise in an authentic way and people need to find their scenius.
But if you don’t know where to start, if you feel exhausted or overwhelmed, if you’re dying to connect with your inner voice but feel too ashamed, too old, too poor, too business oriented, too conformist, too different, in other words, if you feel that you need a push, a safe place, a hand to hold the light while you go inside and explore, I can offer you something.
Making Time, Taking Risks, Sharing (Safely)
That’s what Creativity is about. Making time, taking risks, and sharing.
I can offer you these three elements.
It’s a Creative Detox.
A journey within to bring out what you need to say.
A program to make creativity part of your routine so you can be who you need to be to find your people and share what matters to you.
You need to take 10 minutes per day for 28 days. 10 minutes sounds ridiculous and yet, if you take this train, you’ll be surprised to realize how hard it can be to consistently show up and create for 10 minutes. (If you’ve tried meditation, you might be familiar with this battle).
You can be alone. You can live anywhere. You can be a talent manager or a barista/filmmaker in Dubaï or in Spain. Your desire to activate your creativity is the only criteria.
You don’t need to know how to draw. You don’t need to know how to make films.
This is not about Art, this is about Creativity. The thing that makes you unique, the perspective you have on the world you and I live in, and the feelings you and I feel.
And you can share in a private community only composed of people who are taking the same risks than you do and committed to the same thing: activating their creative muscle, finding their voice, taking risks, sharing it.
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Nathalie Sejean is Activate® Creativity co-founder, a company dedicated to help you reconnect, stretch and nurture your creativity. Click here for more.