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A note to my son about Creativity in light of recent events

Gibran Hamdan

My wife Jenny and I put our son to sleep on Sunday night and turned on the Grammys. Seeing as we live on the west coast we got the tape delayed version. This meant that prior to the telecast I learned of Beck winning best album via twitter. I was excited, seeing as I loved Morning Phase, and at once played it in the background on my Sonos. 

I enjoyed a few of the performances on the show - I mean Annie Lennox! About halfway through the show I was learning, again via twitter, about Kanye West's antics. I won't harp on the particulars as you most likely know what happened. If not - here is the incident and his statement.

First thing I thought was no more twitter during delayed events. Second, Kanye was disrespectful (not new), and I don't agree with his view on creativity or "artistry".

I've always appreciated Kanye's creativity and separated his personality and antics from my admiration of his musical gifts. However, this statement brought into question if the latter was any longer the case.

I enjoy watching award shows like the Grammys and Oscars rewarding creative endeavors - mainly for the entertainment value. Yet their ultimate purpose of rewarding creative achievement or judging the arts is counterproductive.

When Kanye judged that Beyonce's album was better than Beck's he made the same mistake he was complaining about. In doing so he lost sight of the true purpose of creativity and innovation. He as well as anyone should understand that creating & "artistry" isn't about the award. The reward of creativity lies not in the achievement but in the joy of the creative process. Pushing yourself to challenge concepts, ideas, & thoughts to produce something unique to you.

For most, the biggest barrier to creating something new is fear. Fear of the outcome not living up to their expectations or worse others expectations.

As with most things these days I think of my son and what I would tell him about what just happened. Here's what I will say when he's ready.

Pendleton you are creative. EVERYONE is creative. Some overcome the fear of judgement and some don't. 

Don't create for the award. Don't create for achievement. Don't create for stature.

Create for the process. Create for the joy. Create for the possibility. Create for You.

And son if one day you start a company that creates for a living.

Your livelihood and bottom line will depend on selling your creations.

Your creativity will be judged on a daily basis.

Your competitors may be rewarded far more for their creations.

Hold steadfast my son. 

Enjoy the process of your creativity. If people stop buying or judge your creations unfavorably never waver.

For in the end unlike most things in life there are no winners and losers in creativity. Simply the products / ideas / innovations that exist in the space that was previously unoccupied.


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