Our ability to make money and become financially independent is probably the most important societal value of American society. Our quest to make money can cause us to conclude that efforts that don’t create wealth belong to adolescents or retired people. If it doesn’t pay, then it must be play!
That is how I lived my life. I measured success by the ability to reach the mileposts that were part of my career in transportation engineering. I spent decades working sixty/seventy-hour weeks pursuing my goals, and anyone who knew me realized I was driven to make this career the highest priority in my life.
This way of living is not much different to that of many of the people I met along the way. Like other good American, I have bought and sold fine homes and cars to show for my efforts, even though I didn’t have the time to enjoy them.
Although there were some flat earning years, I have been lucky, for I truly enjoyed my career. Many inspiring teachers appeared to guide and fill me with the passion to serve my community, but I always believed this was a matter of luck and not design. I witnessed many “successful” people who disliked what they did but remained in unfulfilling jobs because they needed the monetary compensation to maintain their expensive lifestyles. Missing for them was the importance of feeling inspired, passionate and joyful in what you do.
Passion and inspiration count
Passion and inspiration are the reasons you must pursue a creative outlet. Endeavors like writing, painting, playing music, sculpturing are not a waste of time Just because there is not a pot of gold waiting for you at the end. They are not a waste of time.
These are not the only ways of being inspired, for life offers limitless opportunities. An architect can be creative, so can a chef, a carpenter, a gardener or someone who works with numbers. Touching this part of you in everyday life is imperative, even if these things don’t promise compensation.
This is the reason I write, but I almost gave it up because I was measuring my success by the societal attachment to money and status I had known in my career. The small size of my following and meager income were the reasons I was using to quit. But, after some soul searching, I realized other reasons to continue with my writing. These are the four reasons.
2) Gives my life purpose. Writing gives me a way to contribute to a greater good because it allows me to influence those around me, even if it is just a few people. When I ask myself, “What did I do to be helpful to humanity today?”, sharing my inner thoughts through my writing is the answer I get.
3) Clarifies my values and beliefs. Writing is an exercise in self-discovery. I cannot write about life lessons unless I have experienced them first. Sometimes, these are not clear, but writing them can shine the light I need to see, complete and summarize these lessons. Writing also helps me clarify my true values and beliefs.
4) Exposes and obliterates my negative feelings. Like any other creative outlet, writing allows me to express my truest self. Sometimes my insecurity and feelings of inferiority occlude this true self, but writing brings him to my consciousness. Once there, I notice these negative feelings and can change them. I have often begun a writing session tired and depressed and emerged hopeful, courageous and energized.
Creative activities are our connection to a Higher Power and to each other. They also help us find the way to our truest self. Providing food and shelter are an essential part of life, and it is possible that your way of earning an income may be mundane. This only argues stronger for taking the time to be creative, for it is from your connection to a Higher Power that all things emerge. It does not come from money, status and power.