We are far too easily pleased.
That’s the tagline of my blog. The full quote is the basis of my “about me” (also illustrated below) and since I came across it years ago, it has been replaying in my mind as a recurring theme.
What exactly does it mean to be far too easily pleased? I take it to mean that human nature keeps us stuck in ruts of our own design; boring ruts full of mediocrity that we tell ourselves are fine–that they are good enough. It doesn’t mean that we are pleased all of the time, it means we are often content with something that is a mere shadow of the real thing. According to C.S. Lewis,when we settle for what is right in front of us, we are missing out on infinite joy. It is so much easier to make our own mud pies–mud pies we get to design and have full control of!–than to trust that God has created something better for us, already. But if you have no concept of what a holiday at the sea is, it is easy to be content sitting in a pile of mud in a slum, isn’t it?
The reason I use this quote for my blog is that I like to write about creativity, and I think that creativity is a way to get us out of the slum–to get us to look past our mud pies. A lot of people don’t think of themselves as creative. They think being creative means being talented or that it’s the hour or two they set aside to pull out their old art supplies once a year.
But creativity is so much more than that. Seeking creativity in everyday life means not being content with what society tells us is worthy of our times and efforts. Conversing with someone beyond small talk takes creativity. Making dinner for your family takes creativity. Getting through another day of changing diapers and wiping up spit-up takes lots of creativity. Creativity is one of the things that sets us apart from animals. As humans, our goal is to do more than just survive on a daily basis. We want life to be more than just passing time. Yet, so often, we are far too easily pleased with the mediocre, the bland, the good-enough.
Creativity is a powerful tool that should be used to fight mediocrity in everyday life. Creativity, as thinking outside of the box, thinking beyond what is comfortable, and deciding that some things are more important than our fears, leads to a more fulfilling life. Because when we refuse to settle for the scraps human nature has to offer us, and instead recognize that we have a Creator who has already given us so much, then the mud pies become less appealing. When we are far too easily pleased, things like poor posture, worrying about things we can’t control, and owning a too-large wardrobe that stifles our creativity, become things that slow us down and make us less of who we should be. Yes, even poor posture. So many things in life that stifle creativity are very little things.
I really believe that when we use creativity to combat the mediocrities of everyday life, we become more content. It seems strange to say that we should not be content with the mediocre, in order to be content in our lives. But when we aren’t so easily pleased with average, we become more human–more of who we were made to be. And when we are more of who we were created to be, we are set free from the smothering nature of our natural tendencies.
Being creative, then, is looking outside ourselves, and believing that there is something out there we might not yet understand. We might not fully understand that a holiday at the sea is better than making a mud pie in the slum, but if we trust that there is something better, then there is hope for us. There are so many “better versions” that we have yet to discover in our day to day lives. There is a more content way to live based on the idea that we refuse to settle for what comes most naturally to us. Using creativity as a tool to pursue contentment makes life more exciting and more adventurous. It reminds us that there is always more to discover, always more to find pleasure in. We just can’t be afraid of what we don’t fully understand. We can’t choose what is easy over being creative. We can’t be too easily pleased. We would be missing out on so much joy.
What do you think? Do you think creativity plays an important role in your everyday life? Do you find yourself settling for the mediocre rather than looking for ways to be creative? I’d love to know what you think!