We’ve stopped creating.
When was the last time you built something…from scratch?
Maybe Shop class in High School? Maybe an evening pottery course that you got off of Groupon?
I’d wager that most of us would be hard-pressed to remember the last time that we undertook a project where we had to think of a concept from whole cloth, problem-solve our way into a solution, and through trial and error build something that we were proud of and that challenged us.
I think it’s profoundly important that we, as modern day Gentlemen, continue to create, build, design, and do.
Indeed, in this era of Amazon Prime, any exercise that we can undertake that stretches our expectation of immediacy would be a worthwhile endeavor.
When we build something ourselves, instead of relying on the skills and knowledge of others through the solutions that they build, we grow in ways that we otherwise would not have the opportunity to.
This is not to say that everyone can or should be a master of all trades and be able to build complex machines, furniture, or software. Of course if you spread your expertise too widely, the knowledge that you have becomes diluted and ultimately ineffective.
I’m simply asserting that we may have swung the pendulum the other way, and that the repercussions of that may go deeper than we’re considering.
If we don’t build things, with our hands and with our minds (both must be engaged and both are of equal importance), then we rob ourselves of multiple avenues for personal, professional, and even relational growth.
My wife and I recently discovered that we are pregnant with a little boy! Since that discovery, I can’t help but watch all of life play out through a very different lens than it did before. In everything I see and do I’m watching for areas in which my son may one day need me to guide him. I must ensure that I am always building, always creating, always growing.
The example I want my son to have is not of a man that sits still, but of one that presses forward. I want his mindset to be one that searches, questions, and explores. Out of that curiosity I want him to be entirely equipped to solve the problems he digs up and uncovers. And if he is properly equipped, he will build. And if he builds, he can effect change in the world around him.
Isn’t that what we’re all striving to do? Live our lives in a way that affords us the opportunity to make a difference?
You may see it as a stretch to connect building a chair, or a bird bath, or a treehouse…with making a difference in the world. But I’d contend that the gap between them is far narrower than we’ve been believing.
When you create…when you contribute something to the world that it previously didn’t possess…you are taking part in a richly worthwhile endeavor that will benefit you, and more importantly those around you, far more significantly than you may forsee.
For these reasons…go. Go and be men who intentionally and attentively seek out opportunities to create.
Design. Build. Tinker. Contribute…Create.