I’ve coached hundreds of people on career transitions and there’s a glaring theme that can’t be ignored. Most job opportunities are out of alignment with our core human values. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been sitting with someone in session and heard them say, “I’d love to do something creative, but no one will pay me for it.” Why is it that creative endeavors are the hardest to get paid for?
I have a few theories around this that stem from my background in psychology and philosophy. Psychologically, society is built on playing to our animal instincts. The companies who manipulate those instincts the best (cigarette companies, social media platforms, etc.), make the most money, making jobs at those companies have higher salaries. The best psychologists work for social media companies who manipulate their products to be as addictive as possible, so as consumers we’re helpless to our animal brain that wants another hit of dopamine by scrolling through the feed. Product impact often gets overshadowed by product revenue.
Philosophically, the story that shapes our framework for existence is out of alignment with what truly gives us a sense of fulfillment. Our reality is made up of different stories that tell us who we are, both personally and collectively. You have ideas about who you are as a person based on the stories you tell yourself and have heard from others. The same is true for society. In America, our story is one of productivity, growth, individualism, and freedom. We believe that a meaningful life is a successful life, and a successful life is making the most money to consume the most goods. However, at some point in our lives, many of us wake up to the reality that consumerism doesn’t lead to fulfillment, leaving us with an empty feeling in the pit of our stomachs. This consumer-based story is out of alignment with what truly gives us a sense of meaning and purpose.
We were born to be creative. Have you ever been blessed with a creative urge that took over your entire being? One that left you feeling like you just had to paint, write, make pottery, craft, etc.? That creative urge is billions of years old and is the reason we exist today.
The Universe has been creating since its birth 13.8 billion years ago. It started out as elementary particles that found a way to create stars, which created the elements, which formed our earth, which evolved into the first lifeforms deep in the depths of the ocean 4 billion years ago. The first life then went on to evolve into millions of different forms, always striving to create something new. We are the result of this 13.8-billion-year creative process, and it doesn’t stop with us. We aren’t the end of the story. We’re smack dab in the middle. The universe is trying to continue evolving through our creative urges.
So you could say, if the universe had a purpose, it would be creativity. It has been creating for billions of years, and now here we are, destined to continue the creative process through our own creative urges. Next time you feel the urge to create, I invite you to remember that in that moment you’re experiencing the same creative urge that brought you into existence. What is the universe trying to create through you?