Saturday I spent the day learning to code at a free workshop hosted by Lighthouse Labs. I didn’t do it because I want to become a programmer or build my own website from scratch (I have WordPress for that). I participated because after a long stint of sitting in an office under fluorescent lighting, wearing black polyester pants and answering emails day in and day out, it was time for me to learn (or relearn) to create. Not direct, approve or give feedback on someone else’s creation but actually do it for myself. Who knew the result of clicking on a Facebook ad a few months ago would have led me to such an interesting feat (yay for advertising!).
I wasn’t sure what to expect but I walked into the session with an open mind and eagerness that I hadn’t felt in a long time. As in most unfamiliar situations, I questioned many things. “Was I going to be the oldest one there?”, “was everyone in attendance going to have more knowledge than me?”, “could I keep up?”, “should I have worn running shoes?” Nevertheless, I took a seat at a table closest to the podium and introduced myself to my fellow students. Who were these individuals motivated enough to voluntarily show up to class on a Saturday morning? Well, there was a biochemist, TV producer, AV engineer, IT consultant and a web security specialist. Ages varied and only two of the attendees at my table had any prior coding experience so I crossed worry number one and two off my list.
The day was great; I met interesting people and actually learned how to build a web page using a language I once thought was reserved for a select group of people. The most memorable part of the day, however, was when the founder of Lighthouse Labs explained why he created the event. His primary purpose was to “democratize creation”. “We don’t create enough in our jobs,” is what he said and I couldn’t agree more. Working in a company for eight years where ideas on how we do business were only welcome from an outside source like our marketing agencies reinforced this fact. Creativity builds solutions; it adds significance to utility and is not only limited to the art departments of multinational marketing agencies. We need to move away from this idea, allow employees in an organization to feel creatively inspired and nurture this way of thinking. If we want workers to remain relevant and valuable in today’s conceptual age fueling creativity is a no-brainer, well it’s a right-brainer.
I left my nine-to-five a couple of months ago exactly for this purpose. To fuel my creative side and share it through writing. I’m starting out in an area where my experience is limited but my passion is unparalleled. That said, the world has an interesting way of lending itself to your aspirations when you are 100% committed to something. My Guru calls it the law of synchronicity. I can only try to be an active participant in this “democratization of creation” and ensure that when the time comes, I’ll have no regrets.
Here’s an interesting short film on how society kills creativity:
 Daniel H. Pink , A Whole New Mind:Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (Penguin Group 2006), p. 102.