Take thought of the seed from which you spring. You were not born to live as brutes. –Dante
Creativity is a lifestyle. You choose to leave something material behind– some proof you once existed and contributed on Earth. Then you build your life around that. You still bathe, eat, make love and nurse a hobby but those are all the negative space around your creativity. Creativity itself is the main thing. The happiest creative people throughout history finished their lives knowing they did this.
One thing I’ve found is that the seeds of such a big decision are almost always planted in childhood. And children who experience the creative spark never forget it.
Creativity scholar E. Paul Torrence followed 400 children from kindergarten, observing how creativity blossomed in some subjects and withered unattended in others throughout their lifespans. He began this project as a young psychologist in the 1950′s. As some of his subjects entered their 30′s, he recognized certain characteristics of children who grew to lead Creative and happy lives. Torrence wrote a Manifesto for Children, based on his observations.
The Manifesto for Children
E. Paul Torrance
Don’t be afraid to fall in love with something
and pursue it with intensity.
Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, exploit
and enjoy your greatest strengths.
Learn to free yourself from the expectations of others
and to walk away from the games they impose on you.
Free yourself to play your own game.
Find a great teacher or mentor who will help you.
Learn the skills of interdependence.
Don’t waste energy trying to be well-rounded.
Do what you love and can do well.*
Torrence’s Manifesto encourages children to stay true to creativity and childhood’s treasured dreams, but his advice applies to any person who, as a child, worked –full-to-bursting with creative energy. As Nobel Laureate Neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini says,
The moment you stop working you are dead…For me, it would be unhappiness beyond anything else. …I don’t work for the sake of mankind. I work for my own sake.
*© E. P. Torrance (1983) Manifesto for Children, Athens, GA:
Georgia Studies of Creative Behavior and Full Circle Counseling, Inc.