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As a kid, I was told that there was a great being up there somewhere who was in charge of creating everything. And that if I was a good guy, that being would create great things for me. It sure sounded wonderful until I got older and learned through cause and effect that I had at least some power to create on my own. What if we were born to be creators ourselves? Perhaps we’ve given up on the greatest gift ever given to us.
The Dirt: There is only one creator
Many of us believe in a Creator of all things. That’s just fine and dandy, but what if that Creator has bestowed upon us the power to create as well? What if at a basic level we had the choice to use it or forsake it? Of course, forsaking it doesn’t prevent us from creating; rather it prevents us from controlling that which we create. You can imagine how well that turns out. Even if you’re more on the scientific side, it’s ’not a difficult hypothesis to show how we truly do create all that is around us.
With schools, society, and family conditioning us to be victims and reminding us that things happen to us, consider that we really do create everything in our lives – at least as far as it concerns us. This applies to the good and the bad. The car collision can’t happen if you’re not right there at that exact time, yet you could have chosen to leave 10 seconds earlier or later, creating a different outcome. Like the stock market crash that just wiped out half your life savings at age 64, after you chose to invest and keep your money in the stock market. Or getting soaked by rain that could have been prevented if you didn’t go outside during a storm. Of course, you had to get to your job on time – the one you chose to work at. This isn’t about assigning blame, just a recognition that we truly do create all in our lives that concern us.
Besides the truth that we are always creating, if we take it a step down we can consider two basic activities in life. These also apply to relationships, business, success, and career. We can be a creator or a user. Sure, we do both all the time and that is how it must work. For what good is to create if there is nobody to use? But to snag the title of creator implies that we create more value than we use. We may do this in the physical sense by producing goods and services, emotionally by sharing a story, spiritually by helping others, or mentally by becoming a better person every day.
A user takes more than they give. Sometimes it’s a lack of belief in themselves to create. This is the exister; the one waiting for something or someone else. Maybe they’re waiting for a sign or perhaps they’ve been beaten down to where they won’t even try. Other times a user just feels that they deserve to take based on some birth, social, or ego-based status. This is the pure taker and it’s an every-person-for-themselves attitude. Either way, they choose not to create and add value. The ultimate irony is that users often get used. The exister succumbs easily to conditioning and marketing, leading to a stressful, subpar existence. The taker will always run into a bigger taker since like attracts like.
The challenge is that there are far more users than creators. For example, Facebook created a platform for creators to create content and share it. The few that truly create do quite well. Everyone else follows them. The entrepreneur creates a company and builds wealth. Everyone else become their employee. An inventor creates a needed gadget and everyone else buys it. This is in no way a condemnation of using others’ creations so long as we are also creating. The question is, are we just going along for the ride, or are we willing to peddle?
If you confounding user with addict, you’re not far off. Many users get hooked on their usage of others. It’s their lifeline and without the resource, they’re hosed. A social media junkie would go bonkers without the content they are pining for, an employee would probably be financially devastated without the job they don’t control, and imagine having to build and maintain competence in areas where we’d rather have the luxury of a shortcut-enabling invention. Users are usually victims as well. After all, aren’t users subject to the preferences and decisions of those who create? When things outside of their control (in other words, everything) change for the worse, they cry foul and have only the outlet of complaints and tears to influence the creators.
What if we took our rightful place as creators and actually created? Imagine a world where billions of people create more than they use. What happens when there are more users than creators? We have famine, sickness, political and social divide, and an environment from which it is very hard to win. But if we would create and share that gift with others, how can things not get better? Do that a billion times over and many of those things that plague us every day won’t be able to exist.
You see, the real power of creation is that it has a compounding effect. Creation promotes more creation through inspiration. Imagine any person that said, wrote, or sang something that inspired you to do reach a bit higher and do something yourself that you may otherwise have never done. Creativity is a self-sustaining force that feeds off itself as it grows. Now imagine that person never created and expressed that speech, book, or song. That instead they were a user and just managed to get by in life hoping to make it safely to death. Could that have been the missing piece to your gift and success in life?
Becoming More Creative
Remember that you are. We’ve been conditioned to forget about our creativity. We’re told to stay in the lines, slow down, and that we can’t do that. It doesn’t even matter what that is, if it doesn’t conform, just don’t do it. It happens so often that as we become ‘adults’, we forget that we were once very creative. We become creatures of habit and drone on in the common, never wanting to rock the boat.
Imagine. Ask ‘What if?’ What if I try something a different way. What would happen? What if I started writing with my other hand? Start questioning some or all the habits you have. Imagine doing things in a different way – even for no apparent reason. Sometimes the reason hits you later. Stop doing things a certain way only because that’s the way they’ve always been done. It’s a vicious cycle!
Get uncomfortable. Push buttons and see what happens. Test out your series of ‘What ifs?’ and notice what changes. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In fact, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re probably not in a good space to generate creativity. Creativity doesn’t exist in the comfort zone because it’s not needed there. You can always go back to the old way if it doesn’t work out but there will never be a new way unless you give it go.
Create something small. You don’t have to hit a homerun out of the gate. Even the smallest of beginnings is still a beginning, which is further than most people tend to go. Once you can create something small, it then seems more manageable to create something bigger. Before you know it, you’ll be designing masterpieces.
Get comfortable. This is not contrary to the point above, rather complementary to it. Stop. If you want to uncover the ideas that may be rattling around in your head, you must stop for a short bit. Five minutes or five hours doesn’t matter. With all the pressure and distractions around us, it’s easy to just go, go, go. We must stop and sit to allow the dust in our heads to settle, revealing what we are truly thinking and wondering about.
Journal it. Never let an ideas just sit idly in your head. Write it down now. The worst thing that can happen is during a moment of inspiration where your creative juices are flowing, a squirrel crosses your path and all that you were thinking just went out the window. Every idea, pondering, and curiosity that comes to mind can be written down. It may not be relevant yet, but you can always go back to your notes to pick up where you left off.
The good news is that being creative is natural for us, and as such is very simple and easy to do. That is, if we don’t get bogged down by the learned unnaturalness of work, school, society, parents, and stress. If we are willing to reclaim the gift anointed to us, we can create the life of our dreams.
“If you live any less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
I appreciate you for spending time with me. Please share this with four people who are addicted users. It just might save their life. I will see you at the top, ’cause the bottom’s just much too crowded.