What Drives Me (You, Us)?

“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”  -Tina Turner

There are several phrases out there in the modern world that have been bothering me for a long time.  I just can’t seem to fully understand them.  It’s as if they are in a foreign language or a forgotten language from my ancient past.

Here are the phrases:

  • The courage to create
  • I’m not the creative type.

To me this is basically saying that creativity is something foreign and difficult, taking either great courage or great effort, or both. I appreciate that some forms of creativity take courage and that to some people being creative comes more easily than for others.  I get all that, but the concept of creativity being foreign or only for the special few just doesn’t compute.

So, here is my viewpoint.  I believe that the ability to create, that is to take one or more already known things (or ideas or concepts) and put them together in such a way as to make something different that didn’t exist previously, or to develop something totally new. This ability to create is a major part of the difference that separates Homo sapiens from all other known animal species.  My dog is really smart, but she can’t create.  A chimpanzee can learn to use a stick as a tool for collecting ants, but she can’t create a better method, and then constantly improve upon that. Human beings create new things and thus have transcended the slow process of genetic variance and selective evolution. We have leapfrogged, through the ability to create, into rapid development as a species with a resulting enormous impact (both positive and negative) on the planet and our day to day lives.

To me, there is a “force” in each one of us that pushes us, literally drives us to create.  And I also believe that if all people were free of social, economic or physical constraints to be able to pursue the human drive to create, not only would the global situation improve, but in general we would all be happier as individuals.

The drive for creativity is expressed in many ways. Why do people like David Kanigan (one of my favourite bloggers) wake up consistently well before sunrise to post blogs? It’s certainly not for the money or to be famous. Blogging has grown, and will continue to grow exponentially since it is one of the easiest ways for individuals to express and share their creativity with others.  What drives the scientist, the inventor, the engineer, the factory worker who improves a machine, the mother who creates a story for her children or makes up a new lullaby? What drives the retired executive to sit down and write a novel?  What drives children to build forts and playhouses in the woods?

Creativity is not bound by social, educational or economic status.  Music is created in all societies, from all ages and at all levels.  New ideas are created continuously.  Maybe it takes courage to bring these new ideas to reality, but the drive to create is constant and ubiquitous.

Take my group of crazy, creative people, flyfishers. Even though they can afford to buy readymade flies, why do many flyfishers tie their own? The drive to create is everywhere.  It’s a big chunk of our DNA.

So, let your creativity out at least once a day and you will be amazed and delighted.  And the world might become a better place.

I think, therefore I am.  I create, therefore I am more!

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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4 Responses to What Drives Me (You, Us)?

  1. mimijk says:

    I’m so with you on this..I think people (ok, me) get stuck in the pre-judgment of their abilities. “I can’t, therefore I won’t”. “I’d like to, but….”…We trip ourselves up in the pre-game commentary and never pick up the ball. Better to let all of that go and just do…


  2. Thank you for the kind words and followership. You did stop me in my tracks with your question when I read it this morning. And it hung with me all day. And guess what, you are right. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Create/build something that makes me and others think, smile, learn, feel…and build a community where none existed before. Great post John.


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