Ever since I can remember, I always wondered what I would be when I "grew up." I put "grew up" in quotes since at 43, I'm still not entirely sure what I should be. But I know I want to do something that makes the world a better place.
When I was younger I thought that changing the world meant doing something like becoming a doctor, surgeon, therapist, teacher or Mother Teresa. I thought I should pursue a "worthwhile" profession and that being anything that resembled an artist or other creative was frivolous.
Now I realize that to be creative in one's endeavors is not frivolous at all! The world does not need more doctors, lawyers or researchers. The world needs more people who are passionate about what they do and share that passion with others.
Think of what the world would be like without Picasso, Monet or Degas. Think about life without music! What if Elvis, Madonna, Mahalia Jackson or Mick Jagger thought, "Hey, I should do something 'worthwhile,'" and they decided instead to be missionaries.
What would life be like without music, art or design? What if Frank Lloyd Wright became a researcher? What if the Beatles decided to study engineering instead of spending their days writing music?
We all have gifts and talents that are ours. And even if we pursue an endeavor that has already been done, there's no way anyone in the world will do it exactly the way you would. That's like Nirvana, Bon Jovi or Metallica saying, "Hey, the world already has the Rolling Stones, so why bother?" That's like Prince or Michael Jackson saying, "James Brown has already done it, so we don't need to keep playing."
There are millions of artists, authors, musicians and poets out there in the world using their gifts. And guess what? There is room for all of them. There is no "cap" to how many creative we can have in the world. There's room for all and a need for all.
This is not to say that the world doesn't also need doctors, lawyers, accountants and researchers; we most certainly do, and if that's your gift, I hope you use it.
But I don't have those gifts in my arsenal. I don't have the tools in my toolbox to cure disease, heal the sick or come up with a life-changing invention. Does that mean that I shouldn't use the gifts I do have; of course not. Instead of focusing on what I can't do, I have chosen to focus on what I can do, and I've made it a point to use my gifts in the spirit of sharing with others.
If you're a chef, think of all the people that enjoy the creations you prepare in the kitchen. If you're an artist, think of the joy you bring to someone when they see your work hanging above their fireplace every day and it makes them smile. If you're a fashion designer, someone will wear something you've created to a special event, maybe a wedding or a baby shower. If you write a book, imagine someone sitting down and enjoying your words and being inspired by what you have written.
As I sit here writing this, Bob Dylan is playing softly in the background. I'm sure that many years ago, Bob Dylan didn't write and perform this song with the thought that years later some woman sitting in her office writing a blog would be inspired by his words. But that's what happens when you create in the spirit of sharing, and when you use your gifts; everyone benefits. The artist benefits by creating and the world benefits by receiving and enjoying the gifts.
Stop reading for just a second and think about what your gifts are. Go ahead; close your eyes and think about what you have to offer the world that is uniquely yours. Are you using your gifts? Are you creating and sharing or are you trying to conform into what you think the world really needs?
Whatever your gift is, I promise you, the world needs it, otherwise, you wouldn't have it in the first place. What an awful fate to have a beautiful gift and suffer the pain of not sharing it and denying the world the opportunity to enjoy it.
Live the life that is uniquely yours to live and use the gifts you've got to light up the world around you. The world needs more of that.