How to Kill Your Creativity and Energy

sleeping on desk

I’ve seen it happen over and over again, and it continues to sadden me each and every time.  Heck – I was a victim and somebody was able to reincarnate my creativity, but it was a tough process that took a complete shift in perspective.  And the better the kid, the more it hurts me as a witness.

The moment you leave college and start at a corporate job, the creativity starts to dwindle, and then it just falls off.  Unless you are working for a start up that encourages innovative thinking, you likely have become a player in somebody else’s game, following their protocols and rules.  You take a seat at your new desk, and start reviewing policies and procedures, and learning the job that has already been established. Really, you are just reading the rules and doing your best not to break them.  And then if you don’t break them, your boss rewards you with a pat on the back, and a nominal raise to thank you for following his rules and being a good boy.

Here’s why it hurts me so much; there are kids with such amazing energy and so much to contribute, but when they are brought into a corporate job, the creativity just fades so fast, as well as the energy.  And it pains me.  When you walk through the halls at work and people say things like “Another Monday!” or “Halfway to Friday!” a little piece of you dies inside.  You absolutely cannot let yourself stay in an environment where people are counting away their life.  Our elders always tell us that life is short, and time passes by way too quickly.  If this really is the case, then why are we trying to rush our time, counting away the days on the calendar?  Do you know who else counts down the days on the calendar?  Prison Inmates.

Before I started at my corporate job, I felt full of energy and creativity.  I loved putting together new ideas and figuring out how to execute on them.  And then once I started working, I quickly was trained to follow protocol and they successfully ensured that I would always do as they said.  Once I determined it was time to break out of the cubicle and start pursuing my purpose and improving my life, it took some time and assistance to get the creative juices flowing again.

Recently, a nurse released a blog post that went extremely viral, and she discusses the 5 top regrets that people have on their deathbed.  They were as follows:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Let’s take a look at this list one item at a time.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

At your job, you are really focused on impressing your superiors.  No, you are not living a life true to yourself, rising to your potential.  You are doing what your boss expects of you.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

In order to ensure that your boss is impressed with you, you often work too hard, forfeiting parts of your life that actually matter – family, friends, experiences.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Well you better not express your real feelings at work, because you will be putting your job at risk.  Feel like you should be making more? Feel like you are being mistreated?  If I actually expressed my feelings, I would have been fired many times over.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Immediately when you start work, you miss your friends.  But you don’t have time to be visiting them and staying in touch.  Some are great and able to, but unfortunately, you will see many friendships fade as you’re counting the calendar.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

Just recently, a group of my friends graduated college and started working their first corporate jobs, and already I am saddened.  They are already victims of counting down the calendar days, and rushing through their weeks and their life.  Life is a choice, and life is yours.  Don’t let your creativity and energy fade away to the confines of your office cell.  Stay bright, stay sharp, and exercise that idea muscle often.  You’re never too old to find your purpose.

Photo courtesy of John Lambert Pearson on Flickr

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