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I recently had a revelation that our purpose in life is to create.
At a basic, biological level we are driven to create life – i.e. children. But even as we evolve and it gets more complicated, that drive to create something is much stronger than many people give credit.
For those of you who do spend time creating – be it paintings, or technology architecture solutions, or coaching – when do you feel most fulfilled? When do you most feel like you are contributing to life? For me it is when I put a magnificent idea into action, or when I step back and look at a lovely drawing I created. Those creative products make me feel like my unique being contributed something to life in a big picture way. Art, process changes, powerful words, new life, new products – these creative outputs live on without their creator and are the summary of someone’s purpose.
There is a certain satisfaction in getting a job done. There is a measure of happiness that comes with enjoying a vacation. There is certainly a feeling of gratification after a great conversation, or movie. And winning an important sports match will have you laughing and celebrating for hours. But making something that will exist independently of you and is unique to your personality truly connects to your purpose – and you can feel it.
As someone who worked in computers in the corporate world for years – I can recall the times that I felt like I was using my gifts to create something (and that was the minority of the time). Those times did indeed fuel my fire for long periods of time.
Now that I own my business and have ‘come out’ as an artist – I spend much more time being creative, and I can feel it. I actually feel the urge to exercise that muscle now if I have been doing straight forward activities for too long.
I have 3 kids – so it is easy for me to say that my main purpose in this lifetime is be a great parent. But this creative purpose is much harder to put words on – but it is so important. You don’t need to be able to draw to be creative – you just need to be open to the massive array of thoughts that bubble up in your brain. And honour them!
Maybe you feel an urge to write poetry once in a while? Take a secret notebook and write. As you become more comfortable in your words, you may share it one day. If you are lucky enough to encounter people who resonate with your words, you will feel a joy almost as lovely as becoming a parent. Do you always have ideas on how to do something better – at work or in the world? Pick one idea per year to put out there. Investigate it, see what it would take to implement, look for partners. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment that would come with a successful implementation.
I will go a step further – it is this power of creativity that is the apex of evolution and has made humans the dominant species. Using a round rock as a wheel or using fire to cook food wasn’t learned or instinct – it was creativity. As long we stay with what we already know everyday, all day, we stop evolving. And as soon as we push our own envelope, even a little bit, we start to feel our place in this life. The more you explore your creative skills, the more energy you put towards it, the more you evolve personally, and become more connected to yourself and the planet.
There is one caveat to all this. Creative thinking is only step one. As a creative infant – it will be a wonderful masterpiece, but once you have mastered thinking, it is no longer really being creative and it won’t bring you much joy. You need put it into some kind of action, some kind of commitment, you need to get it out there. Any career graphic artist will tell you that designing within the same box over and over again stops feeling creative – even if they still produce amazing work. Your creative muscle is strongest on the edge of your comfort zone.
Go ahead – learn the meaning of life. It is within you.
In the past few months I have been introduced to a new community of very successful people. It all started with me engaging a life coach, the amazing Janet Whitehead (www.musingsandmud.com), and it grew from there.
This community label themselves as right brain or creative entrepreneurs and they approach traditional business differently. Some examples are www.whitehottruth.com, www.goddessguidebook.com, www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com – all quite successful people around the world who are executing their business a little differently than most. Their focus is on listening to their creative side and propelling it into a successful business.
I come from a very left brain adult career. I have a BSc with a triple minor in Math, Physics and Chemistry and I have worked in computer programming for 14 years. But, before that I wanted to get a BA in Fine Art and I did a year in England getting my Fine Arts A-level, so there is an artist hiding in me somewhere, an artist who hasn’t done much in 30 years (ugh – 30 years!).
Anyway, a couple of things have sort of ‘rocked my view’ of the world in the past couple of months. One of them is how many people are out there, being very successful, by proudly displaying all of the true colours. And part of the reason for this is that technology has made so many different people so reachable. We all know this, we hear people talking about it all the time – but when you finally see first hand the effect it could have one your own personal success it really hits home.
The other aha moment is how much fun it is to combine creativity with any task, no matter how logical it may be. All of a sudden I can’t brainstorm on my laptop anymore – I need big sheets of paper and pencil crayons. But the ideas roll of my tongue now and I can tackle daunting tasks with a smile and renewed confidence.
The title of the blog is ‘the new communities’ – because in the context of starting my own business, it is these new communities that are having a big impact on me. I am learning that you can create any product or idea, and if you can put it out there in cyber space with passion and authenticity, then you will find a market. That is a really cool opportunity. Everyone I talk to in my “real” circle of friends is totally focused on ROI, business plans and pleasing the customer. These are all obviously important concepts – but this big carrot of reaching people who really want to buy exactly what you want to sell, without compromise is very appealing – and new to me.
The Goddess Guidebook, for example, is probably not that marketable in the small town where the creator lives – but with passion and a smile she has reached out to the world and found 1000’s of customers who totally appreciate her work. I am not one of her customers – and if I met her and saw her product a year ago I would have shook my head at it. But seeing her success shows the accessibility we now have to all sorts of different communities of people and some of these communities are individuals scattered around the globe. Without the Internet, these spread out collections of individuals would never be able to join together and strengthen their talents.
It is a new paradigm for me – I feel like I have just joined a new cult and my friends are rolling their eyes at me. I am having fun though.