A Creative Class

I had a friend who just couldn’t seem to get happy. He changed jobs…a couple of times. Even careers. He built a nice home…and promptly wanted to move out six months later. He thought having another kid or two might help. Since he couldn’t get happy, he sought professional help. The professional’s diagnosis: Somebody as creative and “outside-the-box” as him should move out of the suburbs into any environment that might unleash him creatively.

He did that very thing.

Yeah. He was still unhappy…turns out that the problem was with him. Imagine that. He’s working on that.

But I found the counsel he got–from someone that went to 8 years of college to figure this stuff out–intriguing. I’m sure that particular professional had given might’ve been just the thing that some people needed. Really. I’d be willing to bet that for somebody who had a little more stability emotionally, that advice helped some of the clients he gave it to. I mean, I’d like to hear from some of those who did that very thing and it gave them their life back…or maybe a new lease on life or whatever term you’d like to use to describe it. I’ve seen former students go off to college or the military or open their own business and watched them thrive when they weren’t thriving at home.

I’ve had some friends who’ve been laid off recently from their corporate gigs. Some got nice severance packages and others got thrown out on their keisters. You know what they’re saying? That while the initial shock was tough and the realities of finances and futures are afoot, they’re actually kind of joyful. The situation has given them a chance to step back. To make a change they’ve been wanting to make anyway. To re-think. To finally take that step they’ve been wanting to for a few years. And they seem pretty joyful even though the circumstances might cause some long-term worry. And, granted, that mood might change if the job market stays dry for a longer time than they may think. For now, they’re relaxed and they smile when they talk about “what they might do next.”

Now, this isn’t new ground I’m treading on here. I’ve talked about how “ruts” rob us of creativity and uniqueness and innovation.

And, I’ve talked about how the suburban lifestyle can be kind of vanilla in everything from education to values to cookie-cutter architecture and all that jazz. We tend to value sameness because we are, in many ways, from similar environments and have similar educations and similar backgrounds. Nothing wrong with it, per se, because it, more or less, “works” for us.

But I read a quote this morning that spurred my thinking…in Parade Magazine of all places:

“My team and I go surfing in the morning before work. We call it ‘board meetings.’ The best ideas don’t happen in a cubicle. They happen while we’re having fun.”

Now, the person who said that is John Kirhoffer. His job is to come up with those challenges the teams do on the television “reality” show Survivor. Yes. I see your eyebrows raise. Reality show? Creative? Okay. I get it.

His point is well-taken.

And I wonder what cubicles are surrounding me.

Surrounding you.

And how we break free. How we have our own types of “board meetings.”

I do it through music. Or seeing movies…particularly those at AMC Select (they tend to be less “accessible”). Or reading fiction from different perspectives than my own. In reality, this is pretty conventional “breaking free.” I mean, lots of people are inspired by the art of others.

So, how do you get out of your “cubicle” and onto your “board?” I think this could be a pretty good discussion…