To Whom It May Concern:
You may not remember me, but I’m your creativity. I died when you stopped learning about new techniques and technologies, relying solely upon your past experience. It was a slow death because at first you had something to prove, so you needed to back up your bravado and ego with results. But as your accomplishments increased, your bravado lessened, your ego exploded, and the desire to investigate and learn was the first casualty.
In time, as I died, you started to look at work itself as the source of the problem. You changed focuses and mediums, sacrificed art for supposed craft, and ran around the office like a chicken staring down the farmer’s axe. Never wondering, even once, if the solution to the problem was to learn something new about what you do. Instead you bemoaned the loss of me, your creativity, wondering where I went.
Where did I go? The truth is that I didn’t go anywhere. I am sitting on the bookshelves that surround you each day. I live in the source code and design of the websites you visit, in the composition and textures of the photographs you look at, and in the story and artistry of the movies you watch. I exist in the work of your friends and colleagues. I am the expression of acquired knowledge and assumptions, the communication of reflections and inflections, the conversation of questions and answers, and the collective pursuit of learning how to better do all those things. I am living for today and for tomorrow. And you are still living in the past.
The good news? I am not dead forever. I can be revived. It just takes time and a desire to learn and grow. To travel beyond the existing borders of what is known. Admitting that you need me and that you let your arrogance and laziness get in the way of living a creative life.
Most importantly, you need to realize that while it may be true that there is nothing new under the sun, you might just find the secrets of the future, buried in the wisdom of the past.
This is the promise of a fully-alive, creative spirit.
I know this is what you want. I’m telling you that this is what you need.