The Creative manifesto for the overstretched, uninspired worker
When did creativity become an elusive and privileged activity, instead of a human right?
Arts programs in schools are consistently underfunded. Entrepreneurship is viewed as a pursuit for people who are special snowflakes with “small personal loans of one million dollars” from parents to get started.
So we, the general populace, toil.
“I’ve been working this grave shift, and I ain’t made shit. I wish I could find me a spaceship and fly” -- Kanye West
Our work tasks are compartmentalized, draining creative agency out of the process. Our ideas become muted, guarded, calculated, or non-existent, stifling the possibility of cracking open potential solutions to problems.
We spend many hours of our lives building other peoples' dreams, typically to survive and keep the bill collector away.
So we toil.
70% of workers are dissatisfied with what they do. The average worker in the U.S. spends at least 90,360 hours of their waking lives on the job (that’s including 2 weeks vacation per year, which most folks aren’t able to actually take). That’s a lot of hours of dissatisfaction.
If a primary motivation to work is survival (survival = have enough money to eat, sleep, shit in a respectable bathroom, visit Uncle Ray during the holidays and watch some tv like Game of Thrones from time to time), the hours left to live are constrained to the scraps of 5-9p, if we’re lucky enough to not have to work overtime to survive.
Working to pay bills isn’t a life fully lived. At times this is inevitable, but a rising disillusionment to the current state of work is hurting not only workers, but society at large.
We’re limiting our pool of problem solvers when we snuff out personal creativity. We’re stopping innate gifts we’re all born with -- the ability to generate new insights, connections, and things in the world.
You have a right to create, solely because you can.
There are many times you may create (write, think, cook, draw, build) things no one cares about. Maybe you have an obsession with macrame sweaters made from the belly skin of crickets. Or you’re into collecting bottle caps and putting small dresses on them. Even if those creations don’t resonate with other folks, they may spark another creation that leads to a breakthrough in a big personal or social problem.
Your constraints are a blessing in disguise.
With limited space and time comes even bigger incentives to use your creative abilities to overcome them, and generate things not yet seen.
We currently live in a time of great innovation. You’re able to read this post from pretty much anywhere in the world where you can get an internet connection. We’re becoming more connected, faster, stronger, arguably smarter, living longer -- all of these things are generated not from following convention, but from creative sparks of innovation.
Flow, concentrated effort on a task that you get lost in solely because you enjoy the activity, is an ideal state linked to happiness and satisfaction. We have the space to really get into the flow.
To do: Get in the Flow
Today, ease into the wave of the flow by creating one thing you’ve been thinking about doing for a while. The stalled blog post. The unconventional dinner party. The refurbished wood chest that’s been sitting in the closet waiting to be painted.
The creative revolution begins with you.