Why Bother?

Something to read when you lack the motivation to create; or more pessimistically, don’t see the point.

I love creating; there are some things I can only express through art, good or bad. It’s something I will always do, even if the world never sees it, or frankly never cares. But in finding the motivation to create, very often (too often), there is a voice inside that crushingly asks; why bother? I am a small insignificant human. Anything create will only vanish into an abyss of content that is forever growing and becoming more unrelatable with every passing day. This thought destroys creativity. It stomps down on motivation. But while this question, in some respects, has a point. There are aching truths to why we should create. Even, when the latter is true.

1. Because if you don’t, No one will.

Whatever you create is unique. Even if it’s been done before, no one can do it like you can. No one else can express your nuanced emotions, tell your intricate story or comprehend the world exactly the same. So, if what you are creating expresses something true to your experience, you have to do it. Because if you don’t, literally no one else will

2. You are entitled to nothing.

I am a firm believer that we are entitled to nothing in this life. We are not guaranteed to be born with two legs and arms, with loving parents, into a nice house in a nice country. And everything we gain materially can be taken away from us at every given moment; our car, our house, everything. However; nothing can take away your thoughts and no one can take away what you have cultivated internally, so it goes without saying that no one can take away your creativity.

I believe that the only things we can attach ourselves to in the physical world; are the things we have created. And the more we create, the more we have. Because even if we lose everything, we will still have our thoughts and emotions; and abilities to make something of them. We are not defined by the things given to us at birth, but by the things we hold within ourselves, by the things we can create.

3. Creativity is Selfless.

While the things we make matter to us, they matter even more to other people. Think about the one artist/creator that you admire, someone who made something that formed a thought pattern in your mind that stuck, comforted you or spoke to a truth you thought only you understood. Now imagine that those things were never made. Even worse; step into my own personal hell where nothing ever was created; no podcasts to listen to, music to work-out to, photographs to poor over, nothing to read except for safety signs and dry, objective, public-interest-only news.

People need things to consume. Creating things contributes to society to make it more enjoyable, not necessarily more functional. Even if what you or I create is a drop in the ocean of content, it doesn’t matter, people still need it, people need to see what you can create, for all you know, it might impact someone’s mind enough to make it worth it. If it is something only you (in one way or another) can create, the world definitely needs it.

I used to work with this guy who once told me–amidst an existential ‘why bother?’ breakdown about my own creative ambitions­­–that even if one singular person truly connects to something I’ve made, then it’s worth it. And hey, even if everyone who reads this passage thinks ‘what a load of shit the world definitely doesn’t need this’–which by the way the jokes on them because my voice of doubt has already told me this over and over and over again—at least I have it, and no one can ever take it away from me.

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