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With a Grain of Salt

Why is Being Creative Becoming More of a Challenge?


By Isette Façìon | Posted 7/25/23 | Updated 7/27/23


CheeseFor years we've beat the drum on the virtues of cultivating creativity in artistic expression, personal healing, and as a positive way to connect with others and make this a better world.

We've learned from "experts" selling books and online programs how important creativity is in the classroom, in workplace innovation, and simply in everyday life.

"Creativity is good!" they say. "We'll show you how to maximize your creative profits as you share your ideas with the world and make it a better place for us all!"

Ironically, for the amazing positives creativity brings into the world, more humans are finding it harder to be creative these days. They are wondering why being creative is becoming more of a challenge and why they feel less motivated to engage.

Animals, on the other hand, have no problem being creative. A bird building a nest? Pure instinct.

I'll tell you why creativity is becoming more of a challenge, and probably won't earn a penny for doing so because everyone has ad-blockers, and someone will soon post my article on Reddit.

Here are six reasons why I believe being creative is becoming more of a challenge for everyone.


1. Hustle Culture leaves us depleted.


Olga Molina, D.S.W., LSCW, makes us tired just typing all the letters after her name. But she does make a good point about how 'hustle culture' impacts our energy levels. "Hustle culture is when a workplace environment places an intense focus on productivity, ambition, and success, with little regard for rest, self-care, or any sense of work-life balance," she says.1

So, you come home from work and have just enough energy to eat dinner and wrap up your day before going to bed. The creative inspiration to work on your novel dissipated by lunchtime. And if you're a parent with children and a spouse, you'll be dipping into tomorrow's energy before bedtime.

But wait, there's more. Hustle culture also impacts us on the job and robs us opportunities to use our creativity at work. "Lofty to-do lists or demands, without enough time or resources to complete tasks, are also typical." Molina points out. And without time to work out a good idea that can positively impact the business or save money, she observes that "managers prioritize quantity over quality, sacrificing a job well done for a job that's just, well, done."

Being creative is becoming more of a challenge because we don't have the energy to do it anymore.


2. The incentive for being creative has diminishing returns.


CheeseIn our IP sampling, clickbaity world of copyright pirates (arrrg!), and the growing predominance of AI-driven content, spending hours making art or writing seems like a waste of time when quality is no longer valued over quantity and has a short shelf-life anyway.

Integral artists thrive on being original, innovative, and inventive. They want to create something that hasn't already been done. They enjoy being mavericks and rare birds in their expressions into the world. They take time to hone their craft, hours of practice in the studio, months and years of steadfast discipline and growing talent comes from their investment of time, energy, and patience.

But now, in a world where being a social media influencer is the #1 career choice of next-Gens, all is needed is a web cam and live stream on the latest app mixed with eccentric drama and more skin to amass the attention of eyeballs and clicks for consumers to eat it up. Ironically, they call themselves "content creators," but are never content as they are forced to run on a treadmill to keep up the feeding frenzy to appease algorithms and audiences.

Yes, diminishing are the selective, quality-seeking, art-appreciating patrons who carefully choose what they feed their minds and hearts on and where they spend their time. Less in the studio and more passively waiting for "more" that never fills or satisfies.

So, hustle culture is leaving us too tired to care, and the incentive for being creative is decreasing. Like feasting on junk food, it's all too easy to lay back after the work-a-day life with no more spoons and give over to streaming binges, online trolls, drama channels, and Twitch streamers who keep us engaged with soap-opera dopamine hits as they reap the financial rewards for the endless streaming-for-Super Chats, OnlyFans, and Patreon side-shows. This instead of investing in our own creative aspirations because in the glut of it all, what can we offer that can compete with an influencer shilling for the lowest bidders?

Being creative is becoming more of a challenge because doing more than just sitting in front of a camera and microphone is over-achieving. Being original or enlightening has lost its value among the clutter and competition, plummeting in the marketplace.


3. Smartphones made us dull.


CheeseStatistics show that 46% of Americans believe they spend an average of 4-5 hours on their smartphones each day. What are they doing? 51.8% use social media apps because of boredom.

Ironically, 68.6% believe screen time affects mental healthy negatively. What aren't they doing? Being creative. Being creative takes effort and engagement with your imagination. Scrolling through Twitter feeds and watching TikToks doesn't.

Being creative is becoming more of a challenge because we don't even try and then claim we are bored. We sacrifice hours in our days to the screen overlords and give ourselves over to their endless APPetites to feed upon us.


4. Amazon sells it cheaper, 3D printers make it faster, and someone else does both.


CheeseWhen the bottom line for consumers is about how cheap and fast they can get it, it doesn't matter how hand-crafted, thoughtfully-chosen, or carefully-curated your ideas and products are in crowded competition with others.

Imagine you are a jewelry maker of fine costume accessories and take pride in the craftsperson-ship you put into your creations. You spend extra money on your high-quality, durable materials and extra time making sure all the connectors and knots are strong and firm. Your contact card poetically expresses all the love and care you put into your art as a final blessing before "setting it free into the world" to be treasured by its new owner.

Nobody cares. If they can get something that looks kinda like yours in another Etsy store made by snow crabs in the Bering Sea within two days, your top-shelf jewelry will stay, well, on the top shelf.

Being creative is becoming more of a challenge because nobody wants to pay for quality artistic work when they can get it cheaper elsewhere.


5. Shrinkflation.

CheeseHave you noticed that everything is shrinking, from a bag of cookies to the thinning of your Hanes, but you're still paying the same or more? Marketers cleverly package their products with more air and less product and have the gall to tell you it's "New and Improved!"

What else are you getting less of? This article. I'm only giving you one citation and ending number five now to make my point.


6. Nihilism is winning.


Being creative used to give artists meaning and purpose to their lives. They thrived on philosophies of Existentialism, Kirism, and Kaizen-Museism and thought it was all for something.

But at some point, the vessel SS Existness drifted into the Bermuda Triangle of apathetic lostness and run-on sentences where being creative is no longer enough in and itself to get us through the after-effects of a pandemic which continues to ripple-effect through the logistics chain, mass workplace resignations, and mental stability of everyone who still has a closet full of designer masks to match every outfit.

When an artist puts down the paintbrush after fervently trying to get that yellow glow just right around the midnight moon it suddenly hits them. "Why does any of this matter? Nobody will even appreciate the brilliance of my moon, les they even see the painting on a wall because they bought one cheaper at Hobby Lobby."

Being creative is becoming more of a challenge because more of us are siding with the popular proverb which proclaims "it's all meaningless and a striving after the wind."


Reference:

  1. Molina, O. (2023). Hustle Culture: The Toxic Impact on Mental Health. Talkspace. Retrieved from https://www.talkspace.com/blog/hustle-culture/

©2023 Isette Façìon. All rights reserved.