Using Discontent as a Compass

…….to find your creative path.

We are nearing the end of 2020 – and what a year it’s been! I can’t think of just one adjective to describe the past year, but I know it’s not one I want to repeat. A new year is coming and, most likely, a new life. They say hindsight is 20/20, and that’s where it needs to stay!

I am unemployed, unemployable, and in a strange way, happy.

Let me explain.

It’s December. It’s cold, rainy, dreary and I am cautiously optimistic! Using discontent as a compass for good can really make things happen. Amidst the chaos and panic that was 2020, I truly had to use the concepts from last week’s entry: Creativity is about challenging our own perceptions and ideas.

What I did….

Everything seemed to be falling apart in 2020. I cried. I panicked. The chaos didn’t seem to end. I thought, “There had to be more to life than this!” However, if something good was going to happen, I would have to make it happen.

“If it is to be, it is up to me.” William Johnsen

The series of events and circumstances in 2020 made me realize that life is short, time marches on, and I must be what I came here to be – no matter what. You might say I took a good hard look at my bucket list and realized I had some catching up to do! If I was going to work hard to overcome the challenges of 2020, I better make it worth it in the end. But WHAT was that thing? How could I identify “it?” How could I accomplish “it?”

How I did it….

I dug deep and discovered the true me – WHO I was, WHAT I liked and valued, HOW I think and work, and especially WHY this journey is important. After much introspection, I determined that I am a creative soul. I am also an artist, a lover of color and texture. Nothing short of a creative life will do!

I have no idea where this path will take me, but I am excited! I am working on my own art, I am teaching a few classes, I am helping a friend develop her business, and I am learning new skills as well. I know myself now, and I feel pulled in a new direction. The year 2020 forced me to go through this learning process, and it might be the best thing that could have happened.

“If you think you can and if you think you can’t in both cases, you are right.” Henry Ford

What about you?

You are creative. You are here for a purpose. If you are experiencing discontent with your current circumstances, honor that feeling, sit with it, and use it to find your own happiness. How do you do that, you ask? It may differ for everyone, but here are three things that helped me. Try them out.

  1. Like last week’s activities, ask yourself this question. What did you like doing as a child? What activities did you lose yourself in when you were growing up? What tools, supplies or activities were involved? We are all creative, but sometimes it gets educated out of us by the well-meaning people who care deeply for us.
  2. List all the jobs you have had. Make two columns on a sheet of paper. On one side, list all the things you loved about each job. On the other, list the things that weren’t so pleasurable. Include activities, environment, tools, people, etc. Now, look at any patterns that emerge. Where is there a common thread to your happiness, and to your unhappiness?
  3. Discover how you think, how your brain operates, how you process information and your surroundings. There are many programs out there, but my favorite is the Clifton Strengths Finder Survey. This can be invaluable when trying to build a career that is best for you.

So, you may be asking, “If I do all these things, will I be “unemployed” and “unemployable” like you?” Let me clarify. I work, but only at those things that bring me joy or that will actively lead me toward my goal. I choose with intent those tasks that are aligned with who I know I am. I may not want to do them long term, but I know my focus is on the path that I have chosen.

So, in short, the answer is, “Not necessarily.” You get to choose your path. You get to build a life that is yours and yours alone. These activities will help give you the information you need to make informed choices. Learn from that discontent and choose a new path. Hindsight is 20/20.

Photo by Matthias Oberholzer on Unsplash