I haven’t written a post in a while mainly because I haven’t been feeling creative. Even now, I worry that this attempt will turn into yet another draft in my MS Word docs that never sees the publish button. Where has the creative juice gone that brought you such epics as Last Life and Marry Someone Who Will Choke a Bloke Out for You? Well, my usual writing time is 8pm after our kids go to sleep. But recently, as I sit down to write in the evening, I’m finding myself more interested in watching a movie, watching the NHL playoffs (#ALLCAPS), watching youtube, or watching anything on my phone that doesn’t require more than 5 brain cells.
This failure to launch is primarily due to our 1 year old’s desire to maintain a Greenwich Mean Time sleeping schedule (limiting a full night’s sleep) and the more than frequent temper tantrums that have been elicited by our 4 year old due to such catastrophes as, “I CAN’T PICK MY WEDGIE” or “I’M NOT WEARING THIS DRESS BECAUSE IT ONLY HAS HEADS OF UNICORNS AND NOT THE FULL BODIES” (her actual words, not mine). While I’m blaming my kids, I’ll blame my wife too as her usually glowing aura now cries, “Mister, Mister, get me out of here.” This all adds up to less writing on my laptop and more ice cream eating with Netflix.
While coming up with things to write about in a house of parental horrors is a struggle, it certainly isn’t a problem on par with worrying about where our next meal will come from, how we will pay for an expensive medical procedure, or what to do about a parent with Alzheimer’s. Thinking about those in real need has certainly provided a dose of perspective to my problem, which is less a problem and more a temporary circumstance.
Someone who wants to solve all the world’s problems is Muhammad Yunus, a previous recipient of the Nobel Prize. I have written about Yunus in the past and his book, A World of Three Zeros. The book postulates that entrepreneurship and business can bring an end to poverty, unemployment, and net neutral carbon emissions. Yunus makes the case that all humans have a creative side and this creativity can provide the spark for the next business idea that will lead to advancement, jobs, and societal benefits. I share Yunus’ belief that we all have a modicum of creativity that can be used for good.
If we all have creativity, then how can we tap into it!? To reach the source of our creativity, we need magic, wizards, and death eaters. Put simply, we need JK Rowling. While the Harry Potter books are insanely popular and have brought Ms. Rowling more wealth than all the magic at Hogwarts, it’s not her money or fame we need. What we are looking for is how she went about writing Harry Potter.
Rowling, a single mom on welfare, dealing with the death of her mother, made time to go to a café once a day for an hour, not to drown herself in caffeine, but to write the first Harry Potter book and work to better her situation and depending on whether or not you like the books, humanity. Without luck, timing, or material wealth, Rowling rose above her worries by doing something most of us can do – she went to a café for an hour and wrote.
In my very distant judgement, I would guess Rowling’s creativity was driven by desperation. When she was exhausted, angry, or fed up with her situation, desperation put her in that café to write when she had every excuse in the world not to.
While desperation is an incredible motivator and one that has worked well for JK Rowling and many others, what do we do if we aren’t at our wits end?
At the other end of the spectrum is hope.
A meditation teacher I have trained under (when I say trained, I mean sat and listened to) who goes by the name of Adyashanti, believes that hope and desperation are the only two ways that drive real change in our lives. In the context of creativity, nothing else can get us to the computer, to the café, or to the library the same way hope and desperation can.
Recently, I have been helping an entrepreneur with a business he is working on. This entrepreneur has overcome incredible adversity and odds to be in a position where he is on the doorstep of opening a remarkable business – one that will provide social and economic benefits to not only himself, but to the many employees who he will lead and customers he will service. The entrepreneur I speak of is driven by his deep faith towards his religion and god. Not being religious myself, I have often found myself in awe of his ability to not be overcome by problems or challenges.
The reason for his unwavering confidence? He fully believes his god will allow him to rise above this adversity. While I am a spiritual person with plenty of beliefs to be shared for another day, I’m not sure I share this entrepreneur’s belief that there is a God looking out for him. However, my beliefs and views on his approach means nothing – he has hope, trust, and faith that everything will be ok. With this mindset, it doesn’t matter if there is a God or not, he can’t lose.
I started writing this blog post with the hope that my creative engine would start firing and I would find a purpose or message to these words. As I conclude, I think what I’ve come to is the awareness that hope or desperation is what really moves me to change.
I hope I will stay healthy, therefore I exercise and eat “right.”
I hope I will generate income for my family, therefore I work on my investing ventures.
I hope I will find inner peace, therefore I meditate.
I hope I will be a good father and husband, therefore I should probably take back the blame I assessed on my family for this long-delayed blog post. While I’m desperate for my children to sleep soundly through the night, what got me to finish this post today wasn’t desperation. It was a hope that sharing my thoughts through this blog is good for me and you. How is it good for us? God only knows.