Definitive Creativity

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It’s easy to define yourself by what you consume – what band you like, what non-profit you support, what coffee you prefer. It’s easy for three reasons.

First, because other people like it, too. Whether it’s Starbucks or the local cafe, there’s a group of people who agree with you.

Second, you didn’t have to make it. Someone else did a lot of hard work to write and record a beautiful album and for $10 (or these days likely for free) you get to claim it as your own, because you “love” it.

Third, when people disagree with you, you can distance yourself from it. It’s not like you created it, after all.

It’s much scarier to define yourself by the things you create. Because you can’t distance yourself from those. And you put a lot of hard work into them. And there’s no fan base waiting for you. They are yours alone, true reflections of something about you.

And this is the one crucial reason why it’s better to define yourself by what you create. Because when you say you like U2 or Starbucks or TOMS or the local coffee shop, you’re really only telling me about them, about how great they are. But show me something you’ve made and I get to see how great you are.


  1. Great comment, James. This is the true courage, in terms of association, because you cannot divorce yourself (even if you do change your name to a symbol–and back again–or lose yourself in your characters, etc.). And because you never rid yourself of you, and though you change with time, you still leave pieces of yourself along the way that you will always be associated with. As some one who used to live life vicariously, and subsequently cannot hardly remember anything before turning 13, it is much better to associate with your own creations, be they success, mistakes, victories or defeats. Because the accomplishments of others fade far away very quickly, but I cannot fade away from me. If I define myself by that which I consume, then I pigeon-hold myself solely, or at least primarily, as a consumer. My we all allow ourselves the freedom to be defined in process and progression.

  2. Jeff, thanks for stopping by. So glad you resonated with this post.

    John, great insight and reflection. Thanks for adding to this piece.

  3. Stumbled upon your blog today… So glad I did. This post is beautiful. Tis so true, it’s so much easier to talk/dream/blog/think about what inspiring things people/organizations around us are doing. It’s so much harder to put oneself out there, produce creativity, & be the source for someone’s inspiration. I am so very inspired right now :)

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