What is a Good Life? #8
Good day to you all,
Thanks again for your interest in this newsletter.
If this is your first time reading this newsletter, please click here for background information on the project and how it is structured (4 separate sections).
The key theme this week is Creativity.
Through following this weekly newsletter, I hope it gets easier to navigate one of life’s biggest questions.
1. This week’s interview – Creativity and resilience
Each week I share direct excerpts from an individual interview
This week’s interview is with Sean*. Sean is an award-winning film director and screenwriter. He talks about the significance of creativity in his life, and the importance of resilience and acceptance in dealing with life’s highs and lows.
*not the participant’s real name
What is a good life for you?
A good life for me is fulfilment. I get this through a number of things, but creative fulfilment is really important to me. Producing something and getting a sense of worth from it, but also being able to live on it - that's really key. For me, work is really important, it's my creative outlet, it's what I make my money from and my future is tied up in it.
When that's working, it impacts other aspects of my life, like relationships, eating well and exercise, so it's a balance, with a large chunk of it coming from creativity.
When did creativity become a prominent part of your life?
Creativity was a big part of my identity from when I was a child. I was dyslexic in school and had trouble spelling and reading, but I was really good at English. Written English was difficult, but I had a clever understanding of English and a strong vocabulary.
The more visual aspect of art played a key role too and was a defining part of me – it’s where I got my validation and recognition. I was drawing a lot and almost world building I suppose.
What do you enjoy most about your creative process?
People mainly create because they want others to see it, read it, or watch it. There's an element of wanting people to enjoy what I’ve created. This is where the validation comes from as you're not working in a vacuum, it's also about resonating with other people and having an effect.
People can create for themselves, but you also create to share an experience, to talk to an audience. It’s important to see a point and a purpose for your work.
Whether it's a project, a goal or a space to get to, having a purpose helps to give you focus, a yardstick and a set of steps to walk towards.
In a creative project, what starts off as an idea, eventually becomes something by following certain steps. It’s about having the patience and the grit to stick with the process – while winning an award is great, the bigger satisfaction comes from completing the process.
What challenges do you face in experiencing a good life?
It’s the pretty mundane stuff like financial constraints and frustrations of things not happening. Disappointments with projects and expectations not being met.
What lessons have you learned from the experiences of your creative process?
Patience is a big one. Having resilience and being able to move on and learn. Creative projects are very much like your babies, you can get so emotionally invested because they're coming from such a deep place, you're baring your soul.
Expectations are a killer. If you can make or do something with little expectation, it's easier to let it go. You need to let go, grieve, but move on. Let yourself be pissed off, but don't get stuck and beat yourself up.
Acceptance and grace are a big part of it. As long as I push myself, not in an aggressive way, but in a way that I'm challenging myself, be it intellectually, creatively, emotionally and I am learning, then I can accept the outcome.
“It’s a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations” - Danny Boyle
2. This week’s insight
Each week I share an overall insight from reviewing 100+ interviews collectively
Creativity was mentioned as an important component of a good life by around one fifth of the participants in this project.
Creativity was suggested as an important mechanism for understanding ourselves and interpreting the world around us. Others commented on how it helps them to feel in flow and shows the world who they really are.
Many participants pointed out that creativity is not confined to the arts - they experienced creativity in business and in problem solving.
A number of participants lamented our educational system in suppressing people’s natural talents, with too much emphasis on future earning potential, and pigeonholing us from a young age.
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
3. This week’s reflection
Each week I share a personal reflection on one of the weekly themes
I never considered myself as having a creative bone in my body - I had an aptitude for Maths, studied Commerce, and worked in Capital Markets.
At the age of 31, I started playing with some creative outlets which slowly altered my path in life. Initially, it was merely writing thoughts and ideas in notebooks, with no plan, expectation or focus on productivity.
Over the years, externalising fragments of my thoughts and emotions in this way became key to me gaining new perspectives. Creativity ultimately helped me in better understanding myself and discovering what I want in life.
Out of the simple acknowledgement of my ability to create, developed a belief that many more possibilities exist in my life than I had realised.
Whether creativity is your primary focus in life or a supplemental tool, it can be a powerful aid in bringing you closer to your good life.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become” – Steve Jobs
4. This week’s questions for personal reflection
Each week I pose questions to support your own inquiry into what a good life is for you
Do you consider yourself to be creative? What experiences have shaped this way of seeing yourself?
Can you think of any outlets for creativity that are intriguing to you?
That’s all for this week. I’d greatly appreciate you sharing this newsletter with your friends. I’d also really like to receive any feedback with suggestions for what you would like to see from these weekly updates. If you want to contact me directly, here’s my email and LinkedIn.
I’m a coach, based in Berlin (via Dublin, Ireland). I formerly had a 15-year career in Capital Markets, and for better or worse, I’ve convinced myself that I’m going to make a discovery around human thought / behaviour.