Creativity & Money

The most worthwhile pursuits are often the ones that are hard, if not perceived to be impossible. While everyone is waiting in line for their turn on the corporate ladder, you’re building your own.

It sounds so enticing to step out on your own, but when you do, you realize how difficult it really is. Not only do you have to do the work, you have to be your own boss and make daily decisions on what direction you should go. Not easy, believe me. Those decisions where always there, they were just being made by someone else above you.

Stepping out on your own, be that full time or as a side gig, is trading comfort for flexibility with the goal of freedom.

Freedom is the ultimate goal. To be able to have the resources to do and be whoever you want to be able to pursue any creative endeavor. If you have daydreams about a long-lost wealthy aunt giving you money so you can pursue your passion for painting, or something equivalent, you are not alone. I think anyone lacking in the financial resources secret wishes to find a briefcase full of money under their bed from the money fairy. (I know I have.)

But here’s a crazy question: 
Say you were given money — money-is-no-object-kind-of-money — to do whatever creative pursuit you love, would it make your art better?

Sure you would have more resources, less stress, and other great benefits. But would you be more creative? 

Does Money Make You More Creative?

Money opens doors and gives you access to more opportunities and people, but I don’t believe having money will equate to better creativity. It usually will make you less creative because you have less time to give to your passions and more time for your responsibilities and preservation of money. 

In fact, you could make the case that lack of money has birthed the greatest creatives throughout history.

Monet, Henry David Thoreau, Van Gogh, Da Vinci created some of the most iconic pieces in history but died relatively poor and penniless.

Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah and Logic, all went from Rags to Riches with their ingenuity and creativity.

Having less puts you in the position of desiring wealth and success more. You want it more because you need it more. It’s an all or nothing mindset. It’s either Plan A or death. It’s not caring your sleeping on your parent’s couch, or that using change to buy your next meal. The desire to pick yourself out of lack and do something great forges the ultimate creative mind.

It’s funny/ironic that the one thing most of us want, financial freedom, has the potential to turn us complacent and zap us of our creativity and cunning when we achieve it. This is how the mighty fall.

Now, I’m not telling you to sell your house and only eat macaroni. Nor I am saying to give up your dream of being financially free. Choosing to be a starving artist is flat out a dumb idea stupid. But so is thinking that money will make you smarter or more capable of writing your novels. Money is piece of mind, but also can a distraction. A distraction of what’s really important to you: Your creative work and legacy.

My main takeaway here is that maybe having less, and being okay with what we have, is exactly what we need to be our most creative selves.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.” — Satchel Paige

“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” — Andy Warhol

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” — Pablo Picasso


Make $100, spend $80, the result is happiness. Make $100, spend $106, the result is pure misery.

— My Reinterpretation of a Charles Dickens line.

I recently wrote a post on my entitled “Your Self-Worth is Not Your Net-Worth”. One thing that I’d like to expand upon is although money should not define who you are, we still have to take ownership of our finances.

Ignoring money problems won’t make them go away. (or any problem, not just $)

If you’re spending more than you are saving, you’ve sprung a leak somewhere. Somewhere in your daily spendings, you’re buying a lifestyle you can’t afford yet. Whatever it is you’ve got to find the leak first before you can stop the boat from sinking. It’s incredibly easy to do and fall into nowadays with credit. Maybe you’ve bitten off more than you can chew with a car, or maybe you’re eating your money like I am. The issue I’m working on is how to eat healthy, like stupid mega healthy, while not spending my entire paycheck on food. I don’t know the answers, but I’m going to seek out the people who do and follow their lead.

For me, spending ultimately boils down to that first sentence above. If I’m spending 100% of my monthly income on super mega foods that make me feel good, I’m still going to be miserable because I’m left with no margin.

With this kind of spending, I’m no better off financially than a homeless man who spends all of his money on beer.

I­t­ comes down to control. Who / what are you going to let determine your life? Are you going to let lack of knowledge about money control your entire life? Are you going to give your time away to everything EXCEPT that creative dream you have? Are you going others determine you’re altitude in life?’’

The more things — addictions, ignorance, lack of knowledge, and resources — control you, the less control you’ll have over your future. But the more you learn and time you spend on your strengths and downsides, the further in life you will go.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“Annual Income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” —  Charles Dickens (Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield)