A friend of mine recently reminded me that there is no need for creative entrepreneurial types like us to apologize for being “egocentric” in saying that creativity and innovation is scarce, while status quo “inside of the box” thinking is the great majority. It is a simple fact.
Unfortunately, “explaining” this to the “majority” is usually not possible or helpful because it requires experiential learning to truly develop ones creative abilities enough for anyone to really understand. What rules the heart can rule the mind but it does not work the other way around. A fundamental shift in the mix of who we highly value learning from, and how we learn, needs to take place for this to occur. It is no wonder societies and humans evolve so slowly despite all the knowledge and tools available to us.
And yet, I believe man was put on this earth to help God make progress on earth. Which, to honor him, requires us to be ethical bound, to morally act and requires tremendous creativity to do. And this single belief has profoundly motivated me through out my life to deepen my intellect, my empathy and my creativity so that I can use my skills to be of service, to the best of my ability, to everyone I know.
As I have grown up, I have increasingly come to recognize that this belief is often isolating and a cause for great misunderstanding. Developing my empathy, intellect and creativity has taught me how to see deeply and profoundly into others- which is not an easy thing, in this broken world, for others to accept as the gift you have to offer. And yet, as an artist, I have come to learn this is our profound gift to share with the world. It is not egocentric at all for me to say it is what artists have to offer and why God graced us all with the gift of life.
And yet, I find myself often in a space where I feel worried that my time on this earth will run out before I have realized this deep vision for the world I have- to occupy the hearts and minds of the majority with more creativity- to reach the tipping point of true change. It is an honest to goodness daily fear of mine. And it has often pushed me to feel the need to try and prove my worth with anyone I encounter in the majority in the hope that they will give me the opportunity to open up a whole new world of meaning to them- one that transcends the empty hunger for power and greed and utilize it for real progress on earth and societal good. And by doing so, for true sustainable prosperity to flow. It is hard not to want this for the world when these principals have profoundly served the development of my own life and my businesses and created so much prosperity and good.
While I have never apologized for my work, in some ways by trying to “prove” to others what deep value as an artist I hold, I think I have. While the majority entertains my beliefs about the ethical values one develops from the flow of heartfelt creativity, like a muse in the moment, it is short lived and not invested into to deepen its impact and to create true sustainable values. Is this really the only role my work can have?
Two years ago I was offered the opportunity of being mentored by a quickly rising entrepreneurial star in Chicago. He had built an amazing company from nothing, was featured on INC’s fastest growing list of companies for several years and glowed in power and money. He also “appeared” to be “a creative”, like me, too.
As my relationship with this individual developed, what I found underneath the veil was far from what the exterior portrayed. He was in an “open marriage”; his life was spiraling out of control. He was also hiring broken-down-trodden individuals to do the heavy lifting inside his business because he could pay them less and work them to death. And in all he did in life, he placed appearances far higher on his list than true happiness and meaning despite all of his soul searching trips to meet spiritual gurus.
While he thought he was mentoring me, it was I who was mentoring him.
Through my mentorship, this individual came to to emotionally understand that true love and intimacy was more important to him than sex with multiple women. He also came to experience that a creative career and business was far more valuable to him than a past-its-sell-date sweat shop that gushed cash. However, I was never given any credit for my work. The profound changes that I witnessed in him, during our professional relationship, were not rewarded with generosity for his newly found flow of heart centered creativity; which my mentorship reinvigorated the hunger within him to have. It certainly also did not make him donate funds to The IAE, or even thank me. Instead he took it freely from me as if it had no intrinsic value or significant economic worth.
And if I had told him upfront the price tag to help him was a donation of $100,000 to my school, he would have laughed and walked away. Why would he pay when all of us artists continue to give our gifts away for free to those who don’t have the skills, but have the resources to pay for what we have to deliver?
Today this individual is happily, for the first time, married to one woman. And he sold his company too and is now working on something truly meaningful to him and which is helping him to build his creative capacity.
Artists can truly help restore the inner lives of the majority not to mention by doing so stop the Penn State’s, Bernie Madoff’s and Enron’s from ever happening. But it is going to require finding the minority of the majority- those financially able and brave enough to invest and act- to step up and give those of us with these gifts a chance to fully integrate our pure heart centered creativity into their world.
Please Lord hear my prayer. I am sure this is the work you put all of us artists on this earth to do. And, finally, I believe our time has come to do your work on your beloved earth. The world is awakening to the real need for promised words and actions to match. Intellectual understanding is not from where we are compelled to act. This is why I dutifully created The IAE- to help artists help others make progress on earth for you.
Please send me the minority who is willing to invest and act. Lord hear my prayer.