Creating a Meaningful Life…
“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.”
Some questions have obvious answers. We ask these questions to discover things, such as the quickest way to get from A to B. However, not all questions have definitive answers. We ask them in order to form the most suitable answer for us personally rather than to get firm information. One such question would be, “What is the purpose of my life?”
If we ask other people this question, they can only give us their own versions of the answer. Of course, we could accept their answers and determine our own direction accordingly. However, if we want to identify the inner urge that made us ask the question in the first place, we have no choice but to create our own answers. Sure, but how?
The ability to create is the most precious gift to humanity. It holds an infinite potential that we all possess. However, it requires considerable practice to develop it, just like with any talent. Remember, it was much easier when we were kids, because practice was something we did since birth. We did it by playing games of course. During childhood, our minds were like huge strainers with a single, large hole. Our creativeness flowed through it freely, expressing itself by playing games. The vast majority of us were full of creative ideas. Unfortunately, as we grew up, we stopped playing games. More holes appeared in the strainer, but each hole got smaller. Only a few things from the source then managed to reach our consciousness. We therefore concluded that we weren’t creative people. What a huge mistake that was!
The increasing number of holes in our strainers builds up our reasoning, which we benefit greatly from in our social lives. However, we must also understand that pure creativity cannot be reached through reason, yet reason takes shape based on ideas that are realized through creativity. For instance, before the invention of the light bulb, if someone told us that we could illuminate a room at night with a small glass ball hanging from the ceiling, we would laugh at them. However, once Thomas Edison made this possible, it became part of our reasoning pattern.
Creativity needs a playful spirit. If we want to add creativity to whatever we do, we should live in the action without worrying about the result. Whatever the final score is, everybody wins in the end, because all the players enjoyed the game. When a certain result is necessary to enjoy the game, the playful spirit disappears and anxiety replaces it. This anxiety suggests that the desired result can be achieved using certain means, so we radically change the way we operate. As our state of mind changes, our stress level increases, and feelings such as poor confidence, inadequacy, and a fear of losing arise. The holes in the strainer gradually shrink until they eventually block the flow completely, leaving us stuck. However, the source of creativity still lies in playful pursuits. The seeds of creativity can only grow there, being born into this life when the time is right.
Another important point is how we want to hit the target with the first shot. When we try something, if we miss the target during the first few attempts, we tend to give up, thinking that this is not for us. We think because if it really was suitable for us, we would have hit the target easily without much effort, just as its told in the success stories of creative people. In reality, practice is the most effective way to realize our creative potential. Without sufficient practice, we can’t bring our creative ideas into reality. Only after practicing enough can we create things easily and automatically.
Let us take a deeper approach to the process of creativity. It comprises three basic steps:
Dreams enable pure creativity, because it exists in this endless ocean before reaching the strainers of our minds. Many people try to dream in the shallow waters just before the strainer. In other words, they tend to have more realistic dreams that can feasibly come true in the future, and they build different scenarios around them. When we talk about daydreaming, we mean the daydreaming children do. It doesn’t matter whether the daydream is realistic or logical. In these worlds, dogs can fly like birds, trees can speak like people, and fish can swim among the stars.
2- Creative Ideas
When traveling in fantasy worlds, something suddenly happens! An intersection forms between the fantasy world and the real world, and a connection is established. To describe this state of mind, we compare it to a light bulb illuminating our minds. Whatever enabled the connection passes through the strainer to the consciousness as a new idea.
A creative idea is not much on its own. It has to become more than just an abstract notion in the mind, and it needs to be perceived easily in real life. It is the phase of creation and production, where pure, abstract ideas become concrete and take shape in a certain discipline. Practicing this discipline is an absolute must for this stage of creativity. The more you practice turning the abstract into the concrete, the stronger the creative idea becomes. This is the only way you can become competent enough to implement an idea so that it’s close to the original abstract version of it. Otherwise, our efforts will look dull compared to the ideas in our minds, and they may cause us disappointment. We might believe the idea was not good enough and question our ability. In fact, all we need to do is keep practicing.
However, I don’t think these three steps take place in order. In other words, there’s no linear pattern where dreaming comes first, ideas are then formed, and production comes last. Creative thinking doesn’t exclusively come from dreaming. For instance, if we need to find a solution urgently, an idea can suddenly pop up. On the other hand, dreaming is a different case. We dream because we enjoy it and we need it, not to come up with creative ideas. Dreamland has a different reality where anything is possible, but when it comes to production, not all creative ideas can be adapted for reality. Sometimes our products can be derived from other people’s ideas. For instance, we might play other people’s music with our own instruments or sing and dance like a famous pop star, or we might print other people’s artistic creations onto clothing. Our productive side grows stronger this way, and this can also trigger the formation of creative ideas. If we understand how this system works, no small failures during the process can stop us. We consider them part of the process and carry on regardless.
Personally, I struggle most during the production process, which for me is my ability to write. Most of the time, what I write doesn’t resemble the original ideas in my mind, and when I realize this, I feel like I should abandon it. This is especially true when I compare my work with that of others who have proved themselves in the same field. I just want to delete it all and forget my disappointment by watching TV and eating food. Believe me, I do this. However, my dissatisfaction grows larger and larger every day. A moment then comes when even my indulgent escapes don’t give me any pleasure, so I start writing again…
It is very important to identify the stage we get stuck at in order to realize our creativity and awaken from our deep sleep. We must ask ourselves the right questions to progress beyond this stage. Once we answer our questions, either through learning or by creating, we must carry on creating meaning in our lives.
Creativity is vital for humans, just like eating and drinking is. I don’t say this just to make it sound important. It really is essential. It is even a matter of life and death. Imagine if you didn’t eat or drink, your body would quickly fail. Likewise, if we don’t exercise our creativity, our joy in life vanishes. This degeneration is slower and more gradual than in the physical body, so it is generally too late when we realize it, just like how a frog in hot water doesn’t realize it’s boiling to death.
The spirits of this world express themselves through creativity. Each time a spirit does this, it grows bigger and illuminates its surroundings. Children are the most creative beings in this world, and the light of their spirits shines brilliantly. They are always joyful and enthusiastic. They are the real gurus of this world.
If you want to live a meaningful life, carry on dreaming and having creative ideas, and make them come true. To cut a long story short, let’s continue playing games…
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
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