What 7 Days of Fatherhood Has Taught Me About Creativity

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I’ve been a Dad for seven days.

An incomparable, indescribable human experience.

I do not possess the poetic gift to adequately paint a picture of the moment he was placed in my arms.

If you’re a parent. You know.

creativity

If you’re not a parent. You wouldn’t understand, even if my name was Walt Whitman.

Excitement.

Terror.

Joy.

Anxiety.

Love.

More love than I had previously believed possible.

Intense diametrically opposed forces pulling on my soul.

As every expectant parent hears a thousand and one times, I knew my life would never be the same.

Not because I had this new, very time consuming obligation relying upon me and my wife for survival.

…not an obligation.

No, nothing so shallow or selfish.

In that moment I was given purpose.

In a breathe, every priority in my life changed.

This was MY son.

A piece of my soul had been peeled away to create him.

My purpose, my responsibility… to help him become the best version of himself.

Tap into whatever potential he may be blessed with.

And here he sits, right next to me… cooing as he dreams his baby dreams and I share my thoughts with you.

What life will he live?

I can only teach him what I live myself.

I want him to know possibility.

I want him to know creativity.

I want him to believe in a world beyond what we see today.

He will be my greatest creative endeavour.

To help him, I must first live the creative life I repressed for so long.

I must see the world as I hope my son will see it.

Because I’ve lived in cubicle hell.

I’ve been the cog in the machine. Worse I thought my job on the 23rd of floor of 3 World Financial Center in Downtown Manhattan was success in-and-of-itself. For all intents and purposes I was stamping TPS reports like Peter Gibbons in Office Space. I had three bosses within eyesight of my desk and just like Office Space they regularly stopped by my “Work space” to check in on my “Progress.”

The truth was they were bored. Just like me. But none of us had the balls to admit it.

I felt useless and helpless and dull… looking forward to which sandwich I’d choose from the company cafeteria. When lunch was over all I could think about was leaving.

Uncreative…

Uninspired…

Underwhelmed by the life I was living and contribution I was making to it.

Inside us all is an intrinsic desire to provide value to the community we live in.

The Internet has made concept of “Community” very broad… but whatever community you live in, it is your obligation to feed it with creative energy.

Most don’t.

Most won’t.

Most can’t.

Not because they’re incapable, but rather have never opened their eyes to creativity. Life changes when we make ourselves available to creativity.

See also: Break Through

I learned this at 30.

Creativity wasn’t frowned upon in my household growing up, but it certainly wasn’t encouraged. My parents viewed creativity as a luxury of those who didn’t worry about bills (because they were either so poor or so rich).

Can you imagine growing up thinking of creativity as a luxury?

I repressed my own creativity because I’ve never been rich and didn’t want to be poor.

So I did what I thought we’re supposed to do… nuzzle up to the corporate teat.

It’s sad to think it about today.

But the saddest scenario would be perpetuating the cycle with my son.

He doesn’t have to choose a creative life, but his creativity will be given respect. His creativity will be cultivated and encouraged.

And with a little bit of luck, he’ll marry his creative passion with a satisfying career.

The new American Dream.

A creative-preneur.

A man tapped into his own creativity.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

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  • Congratulations on becoming a dad, Ryan :)

    Creativity is certainly not encouraged in this world, at least not enough. What do schools do? They take innocent and curious minds, and try to convert them into boring machines….

    So many people in this world…forgetting their own dreams, sacrificing them and playing it “safe”.

    You know what we should do, we should all allow children to make the decisions for one day (every year)…let them experiment and find how to run this world…let them teach us about what we have forgotten. Children will come up with simple and elegant solutions..we just need to follow them.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing the post, Ryan :)