In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The workforce is filled with people who dedicate their entire life to a job they can’t stand, or at least feel nothing less than apathy about their chosen path. They earnestly hope the weekend will arrive quickly and look forward to those two short days in which to escape their work and enjoy their “real” life.
These same wage earners can’t wait to retire. If you ask them what they yearn for in retirement, they will often say, “nothing.” The idea of working past retirement seems foreign to them as they are already exhausted now. If you look closer at their actual tasks, you’ll discover that most of their work involves solving problems and they’re quite good at it.
Being good at solving problems keeps them busy, fills their day, and gives them a sense of accomplishment. Robert Fritz, in The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life described problem-solving as negative because we work to make something go away. Spending our energy driving a problem to disappear is ultimately draining.
Creativity. Ingenuity. Invention.
Think of people who very rarely retire, or even have a desire to do so. It’s likely they are entrepreneurs, inventors, sculptors, writers, artists, and musicians. Often working right up until their death, every one of them are creators, dedicated to designing and creating something new and breathing life into its existence.
Searching for the things that brought meaning to their work, many of them discovered their greatest work later in life. Contrary to popular belief, the average age of people who found startups is 45, according to Harvard Business Review and a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Even if you think it’s too late to start something new, it’s not.
No matter what you currently do for a living, find a way to create something, even if it’s just in the margins of your life for now.
Write a song, pen a novel, build a deck for your family, paint a mural on your office wall, sew a quilt for children with cancer, plant an herb garden, or learn the art of Balinese wood carving. Bring something into existence that was never here before.
Do it just for the sheer joy of creating something new and pay no mind to how good it is, the magic is not found in the results but in the act of creativity.
If you struggle to make the leap to full-time entrepreneur and business owner, don’t underestimate the power this will have in creating the momentum you need. Creativity is always associated with the founding of new firms.
Creating something, no matter how small, may prove to be the inspiration that helps you step away from a job that is sucking the life out of you. Deciding to create something new could ultimately prevent you from wasting your talents solving problems that will still be there long after you’ve retired and been replaced.
The opportunity to work for someone else and earn a paycheck must never be taken for granted. The experience can teach us how to work hard, how to be both a follower and a leader, how to learn new skills, and how to discover the type of leader we ultimately hope to be.
When we are ready to create something for ourselves and our families, those experiences will make us better entrepreneurs and help us to push beyond any previous limitations. It is creativity itself that will drive us to create even more, birthing new ideas into existence and spurring us on to greater success.
Promise yourself you won’t keep plodding along, hoping for things to get better on their own.
Do something creative now. Build something new.
In the grand scheme of things, you were designed to create. Your very nature as a human is imaginative, curious, and inspired by a sense of wonder. Dwell in creativity every day. That spark you ignite just might turn into your life’s greatest work!
Want more? Learn 3 ways to Discover Your Passion and uncover the creator in you right here.
Originally published on The Startup at Medium.com
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