DO YOU NEED TO BE HAPPY TO BE CREATIVE?
To be honest, I have a very small circle but most people I know have these things in common: they want to be creative and they want to be happy. I can say with high confidence that so do you.
Thing is, If you’re not currently being happy and/or creative, how do you start? Well, there’s no easy answer but one thing I’m sure of is that those things (like most meaningful things in life) can’t be achieved by pursuing them directly. You can't force yourself to be either and you can’t live your life with any of those as a goal. When you think about it, it’s also a “chicken and egg” situation. Do you need to be happy to be creative or do you need to be creative to be happy?
Let’s start by saying you need to be happy to be creative. We creators know how hard it is to be creative for a job or client we hate. But what about the “tortured artist “ stereotype? The kind who created the best work during a time of personal crisis. Aren’t the best songs the sad ones? After all, I agree with my best friend who said that “creativity is fueled by emotion” and I believe it doesn’t matter whether it's a happy or sad song.
There’s also times when you can fuel your creativity by “reallocating” positive emotions to a sucky project. You might hate the assignment but you can still be excited about trying that new tool or visiting a new location or having an excuse to upgrade your gear. At the end of the day, there’s also happiness from the pride you take from a job well done.
Now, let’s assume it’s the other way around and you need to be creative to be happy. This one is trickier. As a note, I’d like to state that I firmly believe everybody is a creator (you can create art, wealth, nurturing, safety, etc), and therefore everybody is creative. Creating is almost a self expression need for all of us. We need to feel we’re bringing something of value to the world, and not being able to do so can kill our spirit.
Thing is most of us need to be creative on our own terms and at the same time need to be recognized for what we create. That only leads for some to refrain from creating at all or for some to be frustrated for the lack of freedom or the lack of recognition, which hurts the prospects of happiness. Very few people are able to create freely and be recognized and some of them aren’t even that happy at the end.
Bottom line is, I think that living a life where you're waiting to do something or be something in order to be happy sets you up for failure. Happiness shouldn’t be the carrot on the stick that motivates your actions nor should it be conditioned to specific circumstances. If you want to be creative just get to work and get your hands dirty. Use all and any emotions as fuel for your passion. Inspiration is for amateurs. I think the secret to be both creative and happy is to consistently showing up, day by day, no matter what, and do the things that you love.