I recently watched a movie starring Cate Blanchett called “Where’d you go, Bernadette?” The movie is based on a novel of the same name of a neurotic, anti-social woman with a young teenage daughter and husband.
I won’t ruin the movie for you by giving away all of the details, but here’s the basic premise of the movie:
Cate Blanchett’s character, Bernadette Fox, was a brilliant, award-winning architect in her younger years. She had a setback in her career, got married, and then had a child. She quit designing and threw all her energy into raising her daughter.
While she created a fabulous relationship with her daughter, she became more neurotic and anti-social over time. As in all good stories, the tension builds until there’s a breaking point in which Bernadette literally runs away.
The title of the movie is both metaphorical and literal. Bernadette has lost her way in life and forgotten who she is. In addition, she ran away from home in an effort to find herself.
You Were Born to Create
Before the breaking point, she sits down with her former professor and mentor. There is a poignant line in the movie that gets to the heart of the matter.
“People like you must create. That’s what you were brought into this world to do, Bernadette. If you don’t, you become a menace to society.”
The truth is that we were all born to create. You, me, everyone on this planet, everyone who has ever lived, and everyone who will come after us. We are all born to create.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow stated in his hierarchy of needs that the need for creative activities is a basic human need for self-fulfillment.
You Are Already Creating
We may not all be considered the “creative type” where we paint, sculpt, write music, or design buildings. However, each one of us has the ability and the desire to create something of value.
- If you are in the construction business, you create roads, buildings, and other things.
- If you are in the maintenance or repair business, you create homes, cars, appliances, and machines that work like new.
- If you are in the health care business, you create an environment where people can heal and get back to health.
- If you are a business owner, you create value for your customers through your products and services.
- If you are in sales, you create a relationship with a customer where they are motivated to buy your company’s product or service.
- If you are a manager in a company, you create an environment where your employees can serve your customers.
- If you work in customer service, you create satisfaction with your customers.
- If you are an administrative assistant, you create an organized environment so that others can do their job well.
You see that any job that is worth doing creates value in some way. You may not feel like you are creating or being creative, but you are.
If you do your job well, and continually look for better ways of doing things, then you are creating.
A Simple Creating Test
Here’s a simple gut test to know if you are creating:
When you do something, is the outcome better than it was before you started? Do you feel good inside or feel a sense of satisfaction with what you have accomplished?
If the answer to these two questions is yes, then you are creating. Not only are you creating something of value for yourself or others, you are also fulfilling one of your purposes on earth.
Creating Every Day
If you recall the three questions I ask at the end of each post:
How did you live today? In other words, what experiences did you create today?
How did you love today? Stated another way, what value did you create for others today?
What did you learn today? Or, we could say, how did you create a better you today?
Here’s the Midlife Lesson:
You were born to create. You can create experiences for yourself. You can create value for others. And, you can create a better you.
When you are creating, you are fulfilling your life’s purpose. You feel good about yourself and what you are doing. When you stop creating or not being intentional about what you create, you begin to lose your way and life becomes confusing, boring, or meaningless.
Here’s the Mighty Challenge of the Day:
- What is the one thing that you are really good at in your job or profession? Think about what it is that you create and who benefits from it. How can you get even better at creating value for others?
- What is one experience that you can create this week that would bring you and/or your family joy? Would it be something new that you haven’t done before? Or, would it be following a tradition that brings greater meaning to life? Schedule the time and do it.
- What is one thing you can do this week to create a better you? Read a book, meditate, write in a journal, exercise, or learn a new skill? Schedule the time and do it.