11 Sparks: Creative Inspiration from Peter

  • Embrace creativity as the essence of your humanity “Creativity is not a performance art,” says Peter. “It’s an openness to what’s happening around you. It’s really a cognizance of the great mystery of simply being alive.”
  • Start with dreams that are specific, present and true In his book Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life, Peter recommends writing down your dreams in specific terms, breaking them into small actionable steps, and being sure the dream is something you genuinely want to pursue, as opposed to something you’re doing in the attempt to please others.
  • Give your inner critic a name—and then a day off Peter personifies the naysaying voice in his head as a character named “Marv” (which stands for “Majorly Afraid of Revealing Vulnerability”) to neutralize its power. While Marv means well, his efforts to save you from embarrassment are also holding you back from the bigger joy of realizing a dream and creating deeper human connection.
  • Reframe the conversation in a constructive light The language you use to define your story can be limiting in itself. Instead of judging your actions in terms of “success and failure,” Peter recommends observing whether they help you “expand and contract” in your goals and then adjusting your course accordingly.
  • Embrace the suck Even after you’ve reached a high level of proficiency in your field, don’t let perceived mastery stand in the way of trying new things. “You constantly have to be doing something that makes you feel like a beginner [in order to grow],” says Peter.
  • Stay vulnerable When Peter choked up with emotion while demoing a profession of love and appreciation for his dying father, he resisted the urge to re-record it. That vulnerable quality ended up having a profound affect on listeners, and the song ultimately helped Peter forge a stronger connection with his dad—and secure a major record deal.
  • Connect with others by sharing life’s downs as well as ups “What really bonds us,” says Peter, “is the deeper connectivity of expressing the times when the path we set out on did not lead us exactly where we assumed it might.”
  • Examine your work’s purpose Whether you’re an artist or not, consider your ultimate reason for why you do what you do. When you consider the bigger picture, “your dreams and deepest aspirations become engaged and enlivened,” says Peter.