Creativity Isn't Selfish

Sometimes there's a belief in there we have, that if we DO focus on creating what sets our heart alight, that is nourishing for our soul, that we are in some way inherently selfish.

That by taking the time out of our schedules to create – we're skipping out on life's imposed responsibilities. We must 'do a REAL job', 'do something USEFUL’, or ‘bring in the bacon’.

I've heard this so many times when working with creatives who suppressed their desire to create (or lead a more independent career path); either early on, or midway through when the money wasn’t rolling in fast enough.

They would share stories of family members (but also their own inner saboteurs) who assumed with a closed mind, that a "creative" career ISN'T in fact real work, hard work, a contribution as useful as other sectors to society – and therefore, turned away regrettably from the path they really felt called to do.

They then spent years trying to make other professions fit, to try on work that they hoped would give them a sense of purpose, but in fact, they continued to suck their soul dry while they dreamed of other realities.

Well what if, you and they were selfish for NOT choosing that more creative, entrepreneurial path?

(And note, when I say creative, I’m not just conjuring up paintings, photographs, a poem, a song – but also that app that may solve health issues in countries you’ve never travelled to, that piece of engineering that could ensure safety in buildings for years to come, that nutrition education programme you design that teaches us how to keep our bodies healthier for longer. For me, creativity is a mindset, not specific to one sector.)

What if, the act of denying yourself time to create something that you are called to do, that could be incredibly useful, helpful, inspiring, needed, influential and damn right joyous to behold – was the most selfish thing you've ever done?

Consider this alternative perspective.

When you connect your innate talents with your inner callings, but then do something about it, you show up as a more authentic and helpful member of society.

You radiate a resonant energy, where you feel in tune with yourself and what you are doing. You're not resistant to your every day.

Your mind starts to find opportunities and creative solutions to challenges other people may not have the wisdom to see or courage to develop. 

Not everyone has the talent or the calling (or determination to contribute) for sure. But when you do, and you don’t dosomething with it, now that is what I’d call a selfish act.

What if your creative ideas and gifts are waiting to be expressed, written, designed, made, built, engineered – because they serve a greater need that can change the life of someone you'll never meet?

Now let's consider that little poem* you wrote in your cabin in 2 mins over coffee, that you might think a small readership will care about, and it won't really matter...What if that poem helps to save a thousand broken relationships, or lives on the borderline around the world? 

(*Tyler Knott Gregson, I’m thinking of you there, after reading last night how you’ve impacted the lives of so many in your Reddit Ask Me Anything post, that reminded me of the value of my own poetry!).

That type of creation does speak of 'real' work, of purpose, of contributing in a globally responsible way because just look at the possibility to impact positively.

So, what if you held the belief, that you making time to craft and complete the idea that is keeping you awake at night, is one of the most helpful things you could do for yourself, for loved ones, your local area, society, the wider globe.

How would it feel when you next pick up your tools of your trade, knowing that you and your ideas are more valuable than you can ever possibly imagine, and you will only know it's true value when you release it?

Would it lessen the guilt that creeps in (when you make time to create what you're passionate about), that tells you inaccurately that you need to work on something deemed more meaningful than creativity, that will pay you more?

I really hope so.

And if that annoying saboteur voice creeps into your creative space – tell it to go find someone else to bother.

You’ve got valuable work to be done.



Image: Unsplash

Marie Milligan

I'm the Founder of Wild Women Do, a coaching network and movement for creative, entrepreneurial women needing support to create and launch something inspirational. A Holistic Business Coach, Entrepreneurship Educator and Writer, I love nothing better than helping you release your creative spirit, and get your ideas expressed and done.