“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.” – Basho
More than seventy-six million people in the United States are currently feeling a major change. That would be the Baby Boomers, and they are the most powerful demographic in history. This represents the largest single sustained growth of the population in the nation’s history.
It also represents the largest group of creative people all alive and kicking – making music, writing books, buying and selling, and helping others.
In a previous chapter, we discussed the fact that your brain is gathering and processing information all the time. Well, this group of people, collectively, has amassed an incredible amount of knowledge: facts, figures, images, ideas, words, and music, all in the course of fifty plus years.
As an example, we have Oprah Winfrey, who not only creatively designed her own production company, but also founded the Angel Network, making it possible for many young people to attend college and for philanthropic groups to continue their good works.
Another example of creativity from the Boomer generation would be Paul McCartney. He’s been writing music and singing since the early sixties.
Stephen King has been writing short stories and novels since the late sixties, creatively showing us all how to be scared to death.
The list of stars over fifty, yet still showing us creativity on the big screen includes Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and Candace Bergen. Inspiring directors like Steven Spielberg continue to amaze us with such awesome display of talent and creativity.
But there is still plenty of room for all the rest of the not-so-famous-Baby Boomers to show us their creativity and their talent. With lifetime experiences to back them up, they are sure to amaze us. This generation will not be sitting on the porch or in their rocking chairs bemoaning the loss of the “good old days.” They have a lot to draw on and a lot of creativity to share with us. They sing, they dance, they paint, and they write stories and music. They consult, and they teach. They pass along a long life’s worth of experiences, images, sounds, ideas and inspiration.
The Japanese have a proverb that reads, “I will master something, and then the creativity will come.” The Boomers have mastered many great skills and have developed many great talents. They have learned to recognize inspiration when they see or hear it, and they’re responding to it. They’re also sending it along to the next generation, continuing to inspire everyone.
Ray Bradbury once said, “We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” That is the trick. We have all been filled and continue to be filled with creative ideas and knowledge. We must let that creativity spill out, for our own sakes as well as for others.
Allow inspiration into your life and see what a difference it makes. Invite your Muse to stand close by and shower you with the necessary inspiration. If you put your mind to it (the left brain and the right brain), you will come up with all manners of creative ideas to deal with any aspects of your life.
No matter what difficulties arise, no matter what challenges you face, no matter what kind of roadblocks you encounter, your creativity will help you to overcome all of them. Go back to your childhood, when your teacher told all of you to put on your thinking caps. Try it on for size now, you may discover it still fits.
There’s nothing like inspiration to help you conquer your fears. It will change your life, guaranteed. Let go of the past and its disappointments; they only trip you up and hold you back.
Make use of every source to aid you in this quest for creativity. Inspiration is all around you. The basic desire is within you; the need for creativity is a part of your very DNA. You simply have to train your brain to think more creatively, allow that desire to fill you, and force that creativity to the surface. You may have to remind yourself each and every day to think creatively, give yourself the chance to come with a bit of inspiration of your own, and find ways to solve your problems. You may even discover inside yourself an artist, a writer, a musician, or an inventor struggling to get out. Let the creative spirit inside of you come out to play, and create.
If you find the need for a little more inspiration, talk with Baby Boomers about what thrills them. See if it’s something you might like to try. Then get them to teach you all about it. Read a book, take a class, and learn to play an instrument or dance. Contact your local Continuing Education Center and find out what kinds of creative activities you can engage in.
John W. Gardner tells a story of Alexander the Great visiting Diogenes. Alexander asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher. Diogenes replied, “Only stand out of my light.” Gardner concluded that perhaps some day, we should know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.
Perhaps we should stand close enough to that light, to shed a little beam on us, for us to learn from those creative men and women. Then we can go out and share a little of that light to others. We can help pass the torch to the next generation.