We’re all born creative.
When I was in 5th grade, I started a sports magazine with three of my friends. We called it CSN, or Cube Sports Network, with each of us representing the four sides of a cube. We had the ambition to take down ESPN as the leading sports conglomerate in the world.
My attic was converted to a man (boy) cave, with a couch, sports posters hanging up, a fridge full of root beer and an old Gateway desktop computer. We’d take turns on the computer between rounds of Mario Kart, writing our predictions for the upcoming March Madness tournament or what we thought of the new prospects for the Red Sox.
I remember selling subscriptions to our neighborhood and family members. I still have one Aunt that brings this up: apparently she pre-paid for a full year and the magazine stopped before she got her money’s worth. Hopefully, these articles help to bridge the gap.
We’re all born creative. As kids, we dream big, we draw, we play with imaginary friends, we create lemonade stands and play outside all day. When others see a backyard, a kid sees Fenway Park or the surface of Mars or an ancient battleground.
Until we hit a certain age.
Then we start to care about what other people think. We try to be “cool”, to impress the boy or girl we have a crush on. We get told that although we can be “anything we want”, life is a lot easier if you go try to be an Accountant than an Astronaut.
Being an Astronaut seems impossible for an adult. There’s no guide to get there. There’s no Astronaut major in college. Maybe I should have focused more on my Science classes. Plus, how do you even apply? Do they get a nice benefits package? Paid time off? And does that mean I actually have to move to Houston?
But kids don’t think like that. They dream. They think: Astronaut, that sounds COOL! And then they draw themselves up in space or make a spaceship out of a cardboard box and play in it until it breaks. They dress up as Neil Armstrong for Halloween.
We’re all born creative.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up.”– Pablo Picasso
I’ve met ultra-successful people the past few years through my podcast. People that have won an Olympic Gold Medal, or 5X NBA championships, or have written bestselling books or are CEOs of companies valued at over $1B.
A lot of them have taken something they loved to do as a child and found a way to pursue it in their adult lives.
An easy example is someone like Jordan Burroughs. Growing up as a wrestling fanatic, he perfected his craft and won Gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Gary Vaynerchuk has notoriously told stories of selling baseball cards for thousands of dollars as a young kid, fueling his inner entrepreneurial spirit.
But what about you – the schoolteacher, the accountant, the middle manager at a massive company – that wants to pull her hair out at 2 pm every day? You can’t just become a professional athlete or a painter. Fair enough.
But what about a hobby or side hustle? Who’s to say you can’t spend an hour in the mornings writing a comic book or play pick-up basketball after work on Tuesdays or take pottery classes twice a month?
After CSN shut down, I didn’t write for years. Of course, I had papers for school that I had to do. But it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t creative.
It wasn’t until I took a class my senior year of college, The Creative Process, that I took writing back up. I wrote stories. I wrote a book of 50 poems about my life. I wrote a 5-minute stand-up comedy act and performed it at an open mic night in Boston.
Last month, I got paid for the first time in my writing career since that sports magazine. Medium paid me $1.28 for the month of August through their partner portal. It’s hardly a number worth talking about. It couldn’t even afford me a cup of coffee in San Francisco.
But I did it. I fucking did it. I put words on paper that didn’t exist before. I posted them to the ether of the internet, up for approval of every human that happens to scroll across it on their morning commute.
But it’s not about the money. I have a full-time job in sales. I’m the farthest thing from a full-time writer.
It’s about the pursuit. The joy of returning, even for a short time each week, to something I loved to do as a kid.
I hope this inspires you to sign up for that paint night, to spend your Sunday baking a chocolate lava cake or sign up for that half-marathon you’ve been peeking at online for the past 3 months.
We were all born creative. It’s our job to return to that state as often as we can.