“Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
~ Scott Adams (Dilbert)
Both of these quotes were provided by my friend, Amanda Hirsch. Amanda is the author of Creative DC, a blog about living a creative life in DC. She found me online while looking for blogs about New York City. After clicking through to my resume, she found that we have just about all the same interests and graduated from the same university, the same year. (It's a big school so sadly we didn't meet way back when.)
It's these online connections to creative, inspiring people that keeps me writing. They make all this effort worthwhile. There are a plethora of interesting, engaging people out there, spread out all over the map. Writing online gives us a way to find each other.
And this brings me to the reason that Amanda's first quote really got to me. It would be very easy to just look around and see what the world needs, and then go make that. That's certainly a viable road to entrepreneurship. Trouble is that method doesn't necessarily get our internal motors running.
Running a business, heck writing a regular blog, takes an incredible amount of dedication and time. There are nights that I have to stay in and write, and I love that. When I'm writing, I don't feel like I'm missing out on doing something else. I'm passionate about this art form, and have made a conscious decision to become a better writer. That's going to take time. Point is, I didn't look around and say "what the world needs is another person to write about creativity." I'm interested in creativity and writing. They make me come alive - and me coming alive can go a long toward making the world around me a better place to be.
Finally, this point brings me to Amanda's second quote. There are a lot of times that a whole lot of nonsense flows from my keyboard. The wording is awkward. I can't turn a phrase properly. I have a tough time translating my thoughts into words that other people understand. I edit as much as I actually write. The creativity piece involves throwing down everything on the page. Forget about beauty and style and grace. Just get the thought down. Editing is the real art - knowing what to keep and what to toss away so that the necessary can speak.
Our world is built around creativity, mistakes, and art. From the buildings we occupy to the streets we walk to the businesses we frequent. These three things are inextricably intertwined. And while the result isn't perfect, it's beautiful and unique and interesting - exactly the way the world should be.