Creativity everyday with Laurie Hernandez
Now more than ever, youth are in need of inspiration. From their virtual classrooms to their personal surroundings, we’ll show students how opportunities to spark their own creativity are everywhere. They will get an inside look at the places Laurie goes to source her inspiration for favorite activities like journaling, music making, and creative writing.
Laurie Hernandez: Hey, there! My name is Laurie Hernandez. I'm an Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, and proud to champion literacy and learning efforts with my friends at KPMG. I'd like to take you all on a little journey, one we can learn from and apply to our own lives and learn from some special guests from across the country and space.
Seth Curry: Welcome to Philadelphia's home court.
Krystal Joy Brown: Welcome to Broadway.
Leland Melvin: Welcome to the International Space Station.
Laurie Hernandez: Welcome to Costa Mesa.
John Rost: Welcome to Crown Holdings.
Laurie Hernandez: This is KPMG Virtual Field Trips. Everything around you right now started as an idea in someone's head. A spark of creativity led to the light bulb, the phone, and the airplane. Maybe you won't create the next rocket ship, but that doesn't mean you can't be the next creative mastermind. No matter where you are on your creative journey, I'm here to help you tap into your creative side because it can be acquired and honed at any age and can always be improved.
Changing up your normal routine, stepping outside of typical comfort zones, and paying attention to the present moment are all great ways to spark innovation and apply knowledge in new and exciting ways. I'm telling you; you can do this in your sleep. When you learn new information, taking a break, and stepping away allows your mind to process the data. This lays the groundwork for creative insights or breakthrough. That's why the best ideas come when you least expect them. But like all things, practice makes perfect. The more you flex your creative muscles, the easier it becomes.
Creative geniuses like Shakespeare, Picasso, or Frida Kahlo produce their best work at their times of greatest output. But the key to creativity is not being afraid to try new things, be open and playful. If you're open to new experiences, you're open to new ideas and perspectives. And new perspectives offer up important insights. Don't be afraid to ask other people for their thoughts. The top inventors, artists, and creatives didn't get to where they are now on their own. I'm excited to share with you today how we can be more creative and the mental health benefits that come with it. To show you the ways I like to express myself creatively and the places I like to go to source inspiration, I wanted to take you on a tour of Costa Mesa in the beautiful Southern California, let's go.
Our world is home to so much diversity. Every person on this planet has an identity that is total unique and beautiful. Identities built out of ethnicity, religious beliefs, social class, age, gender identification, sexual orientation, and more. Each of us has the opportunity to take inspiration from the diverse world around us when we read, write, and create. We need to celebrate one another for all the things that make each and every one of us unique. And one of my favorite ways to do that is through books. I also wrote a few books myself called "She's Got This," and "I Got This"
In "I Got This," I also share my personal journey striving to reach my goals. Although the journey was tough and there were hurdles along the way, I met the challenges head on. I felt it was important to write a book from my unique perspective as a woman and Puerto Rican American, so others who may have differences in unique characteristics, know that they can really achieve anything if they put their mind to it, including you.
In "She's Got This," I was inspired by both my own experience and imagination. In order to write this book, I had to creatively pull from both my past and experiences I may not have personally gone through, but friends have. This is where drawing from creativity and experience is really important in creating a great, authentic story. Whether we are reading or writing, whether we make an effort to discover more about each other, we are able to be inspired by those who lead different lives than us. We can also then authentically represent the unique experiences and characteristics of not only ourselves and others. All right, now I'll take some questions from my friends.
Darnell Abraham: Hey Laurie, what was your favorite subject in school and why?
Laurie Hernandez: My favorite subject when I was in school would have to be literature. I loved reading. I loved sitting down with either my mom or with friends of mine, because I was homeschooled, and breaking down what the story might mean. I just thought it was so colorful and it made me inspired to write.
Leland Melvin: Hey Laurie, was there ever a time in your life that you had to overcome challenges or obstacles?
Laurie Hernandez: There was definitely a time in my life where I had to face some challenges and obstacles to have to overcome. I think in 2014, in January, I was doing a skill during practice in gymnastics, and I fell and I broke my wrist, and I was out for a couple of months, but I was still hopeful that I could make meet season later on that year. And then in June of that same year, I hurt my knee and had to get surgery. And so, I was out the whole year, and there was this question of, can I get back to as good as I was before all of this happened? Am I gonna be able to still try to make the 2016 Olympic team? And thankfully, that was the case, you know, being able to stay hopeful, and to hang in there, and to trust myself and my support system that I could do it. That was the biggest thing.
John Rost: Hey, Laurie, what do you love about gymnastics?
Laurie Hernandez: I think my favorite thing about gymnastics is having the freedom to try new things and to be able to do hard things. I think that's why a lot of us don’t it is because it's hard, and it feels really good to master something that other people may deem as impossible.
Seth Curry: Hey Laurie, what do you love about competing in the Olympics?
Laurie Hernandez: Selfishly, one of my favorite parts was being able to wear these you know, red, white, and blue leotards. And we had the American flag embroidered on our wrists. So every time we saluted or every time you looked down at your hand, you can see this flag. And it was a reminder that you were at the Olympics, and that you were representing the country. And that's something that can feel really overwhelming especially at 16 years old. But when you have a group of girls that are really sweet, and kind, and supportive, you realize that that's a support system, and anything you do is what matters most.
Krystal Joy Brown: Hey Laurie, do you ever find a particular creative activity to be a good mood booster?
Laurie Hernandez: An activity that is a good mood booster for me would definitely have to be writing. It's something that, especially within the last year or so, I've gotten really into, and I was able to take some online college classes for acting, and for screenwriting, and fiction writing. And I just had such a good time. I love being able to take all the little worlds and characters that I've built in my brain and put them on paper, and give them for other people to read and to see.
Leland Melvin: Hey Laurie, what have you learned in your acting and script writing courses?
Laurie Hernandez: Oh, well, I'm not really a pro at acting or, you know, screenwriting. (laughs) I really just enjoy doing it. But I think, you know, actually doing it and getting the words out is really the first step in diving into anything really. So, honestly, just do things that you're passionate about, and make sure that you love it to pieces. And if this thing doesn't turn into anything, it's the process that really matters, and the fact that you got to nurture your own brain and enjoy yourself, even if it's being super introverted and staying inside and writing.
You also have an opportunity to take all the things that you have felt within the last couple of years or lessons that you've learned and bleed it into characters that you've created. And it can be really therapeutic. It's kind of like journaling, but fictional.
John Rost: Hey Laurie, what's the benefits of journaling?
Laurie Hernandez: In terms of journaling, I think there are so many benefits that aren't quite talked about enough. And like, having to start journaling can be a really tough process because when we're young, we're taught to format everything and write it perfectly. And if it's not perfectly written so that way it's readable, then we don't want to write it at all. And journaling doesn't have to be that. You can scribble, "I had a bad day," and just close the page. I'll use my journal as, you know, if I have to make a list of something, I use it for everything, and in doing so, whenever I have a rough thought, I can just crack it open and write down any problems that I'm having. Especially with my whole family being in New Jersey and me being in California, having an outlet to place emotions and to cope with it, is really healthy and very important. So I encourage journaling as much as possible for everybody.
Darnell Abraham: Hey Laurie, what sorts of creative writing do you like to do? And what do you like to write about?
Laurie Hernandez: I think the type of creative writing that I like to do, typically has to do with like dystopian fantasy. It's always in the fiction realm. And especially with... You know, writing fiction is kind of like animation. There are endless possibilities. You can literally do whatever you want. Things that you can't do in regular, you know, real mortal life, you can do it, and whatever world it is that you're building. And that is just a lot of fun to play with unrealistic things that you can write down, and other people might be able to enjoy.
Seth Curry: Hey Laurie, how do you learn how to make music?
Laurie Hernandez: When it comes to music, I've definitely used playing instruments, typically guitar for me. But I use that also as a creative outlet. If I'm ever feeling kind of sad, and then you can just play some sad music and it just feels good. But in terms of songwriting and creating songs, I think, you know, it's always so good to do it with a friend or to do it with someone that could be like a partner in crime that could help build your ideas and not be judgmental to things that you create.
But making music with friends is just fun. Being able to figure out what sounds right, what doesn't. You know, if I sing a note, does this actually sound really bad? Or does it sound kind of good? We don't know unless we try it. So, it's the testing things that makes music fun and being able to actually hear what's happening. You know, if you're writing something, as you're reading it, you can see what's happening. With music, you hear it. And it's a new sense that you're using. So, it's kind of like the same concept.
John Rost: Hey Laurie, what inspired your creative writing?
Laurie Hernandez: I mean, I definitely am one of those kids that just has their head in the clouds, and is always kind of daydreaming. Or if I do have a real-life situation, I kind of feel like I'm pulling a Dr. Strange moment, which is like, how many ways can this go wrong? How many ways can this go right? And there's a lot of thought that's happening there. And you know, when it comes to writing, it's kind of that same thing, whether that's music, whether that's screenwriting, it's just pulling from wherever you can get it. I think the inspiration just comes from the way that my brain works. (laughs)
Seth Curry: Hey Laurie, can you tell us a bit about the Hamilton routine you did a little while back?
Laurie Hernandez: Yeah, I was able to compete at this competition called Winter Cup. It's been four and a half years since I have competed. And the last competition I did before that was the Olympics. And so, coming back, I thought it would be a lot of fun to cut and choreograph my own floor routine. And I was able to add for the second half of the routine "The Room Where it Happens" from Hamilton. And as a really big Broadway nerd and someone who likes singing, and dancing, and acting, what better way to incorporate that in gymnastics than to put it into your floor routine.
Laurie Hernandez: Now let's put some creativity into practice. We'll learn about journaling, a great and therapeutic way to get down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Here's how you can do it at home. The first big step is deciding what your journal is gonna be about. Maybe it's a personal journal. So you can write about your daily life, thoughts, and feelings, or a gratitude journal to record what you're grateful for. It could also be a therapy journal, a journal where you go out, or an art journal. No matter what you choose, it will always be one of a kind, because it's all yours.
Anytime you write a new entry, start with the date and location at the top of your page. That makes it even more fun down the road when you're able to look back and see where you were when you wrote it. And when you start journaling, the only rule is to be free and open. Let yourself get creative. Don't worry about making sense or following the rules of writing. This is your journal. You can do it however you want. Write a poem, doodle, make a list, write song lyrics that resonate with you. Whatever you decide to do, just leave it all on the page. There are so many ways to get your creativity sparking.
Let's review everything we've learned about being creative in today's takeaways from the day. First, we learned that our English and art classes in school can be the foundation of lifelong hobbies that are great for your mental wellness. Creative activities you enjoy can make you feel better when you're feeling down. We also learned how important it is for literature to tell the stories of people hailing from diverse backgrounds. Everyone's story deserves to be told. And we should seek out books and storytelling that showcases the vast variety of backgrounds and perspectives all people have to offer. We should also be writing ourselves.
Journaling is a fun way to express yourself, document your life. And imagine looking back at all your memories in a few years. All it takes is a pencil, some paper, and your thoughts. That reminds me, remember how Darnell and Crystal talked about the importance of script writing in theater? Creative writing can even turn into a career path. The possibilities are endless. You just have to be open to pursuing them.
Now get out there and get creative. I know that sometimes it can be hard to connect the things you are learning in school with your future plans. A good education is the foundation for the limitless possibilities you saw in today's episode. I encourage you to be a lifelong learner. To learn more about KPMG and its commitment to education and lifelong learning, please visit www.kpmg.us, Until next time.