invisible creativity: 3 principles for a life worth living

Faber on his tractorCreativity is the latest buzzword of success literature. When you hear the word Creativity, where does your mind take you next? The professional world of the Arts? The hobby you pursue on the weekend? Perhaps you think of problem solving, or creativity and innovation in business. But, beneath all these external applications, I say Creativity is the gem of humanity, buried in the bedrock of our lives. It is up to us to dig it up and put it to use, in whatever ways our lives require. This morning, I had a chat with my lifelong friend Faber about Jay Levinson’s new Guerrilla Marketing book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green. Faber credited Levinson’s first book, published in 1984, with much of his business success. What he shared next was so on-target, I had to share it with you. First you have to know a little something about Faber. Faber and I both grew up in Houston, Texas and met as children at school. In his 20s, Faber established a drilling equipment and wholesale manufacturing company, which he continued to manage while he returned to school for his law degree. At the ripe old age of 44, he sold the business and retired with his wife Sandy and their three children to a 200-acre farm in South Central Texas. My husband and I began our married life there in a grove of old Bois d’Arc trees, which still ground us today. Faber knows the difference between business success and success in life. After mentioning Levinson’s book, Faber added: “But the best business advice I ever got was from my father:  ‘Be available and be competent.’” Faber said his father had taught him three things from childhood, which have morphed through the course of his life into this:

  1. Learn something from everyone you meet (even if it’s what you don’t want to be like).
  2. Every human contact is a chance for courtesy or conflict. Choose courtesy.
  3. Live your life by exercising the 7 virtues:
  • Prudence. Think through your words and actions first.
  • Justice. Do the right thing.
  • Temperance. Control your appetites. Moderation in all things.
  • Courage. Never give up.
  • Faith. Be willing to have confidence in the unseen.
  • Hope. Never despair. God has a path and a journey for you.
  • Love. Love selflessly, expecting nothing back.

Through many years, I have watched Faber create a successful life, using these principles; but business is only a part of that. He and Sandy have sent three creative children into the world. As well as playing the bagpipes and guitar, Faber is also proficient in Spanish, ancient Greek and Gaellic. He keeps a small herd of cattle on his land, and grows organic wheat to feed them, experimenting with other crops to learn what the land will produce in his county. Sandy raises exotic chickens and owns a thriving Antique Emporium in their town of Navasota. They both serve their small community with love, in personal and nontraditional ways. Faber and Sandy might not make page one on a Google search for Creativity, but they certainly live creative lives. And success, as they define it, has been the byproduct of their choices. Creativity is more than any of its applications. Sometimes Creativity is invisible, embedded in the structure of our lives without appearing obvious on the surface. It is certainly a way of life and an essential element of successful life. Where is it buried in you?

Reader Interactions


  1. Jane Larson Stoll says

    Yes, I’m THAT Jane Larson from Wheaton College and I’d be stone cold dead without my aptitude for art and creativity, but that’s a really long story! I am thrilled to see that you are writing about this topic. I could go on and on about it myself, because it’s such an amazing thing.

    One thing I’ve noticed about creativity is that creative children tend to have creative parents, or at least parents who encourage creativity. I’ve observed that creative parents don’t necessarily work in the creative fields; I find all creative people, whether they be scientists or parents or carpet-binders, to be people who are divergent thinkers. They are people who are not afraid to think their own thoughts and come up with original ideas that might defy accepted wisdom. They are people who make their own path in life in ways that might seem a little nutty to other folks.

    Kathy, I’m glad to see you pointing out the fact that no creative life can be lived well without the disciplines–ie, the virtues–you note in your blog. These virtues are the tools I’ve used to keep myself sane for the last 26 years, plus a few of others I’ve come across that work well for me. I don’t think any life can be lived well without these virtues, but there are those of us who need treatment and therapy to learn how to acquire some of the virtues. I think everyone needs to realize that an inability to achieve certain virtues is not a horrible character flaw but is usually due to unhealed, often forgotten, traumas and unmet childhood needs that can be repaired with the right kind of therapy and support groups. Depression, alcoholism, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are bona fide medical illnesses and once they are being successfully treated, the virtues will be attainable.

    However, in my long healing journey, my creativity has always been with me. It has been paramount to deep healing from early neglect and abuse. Overwhelming depression will kill the desire to create, but the best therapists will turn depression on its head with art therapy–putting the depression on paper or in a sculpture literally takes it out of you! And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to draw out overwhelming, crippling emotions by taking up paintbrush or pencil and paper so I can get on with my day. I know I would not be, nor would I be a mom to 2 girls, without my creativity.

    Just one more thing–I’ve managed to be a free-lance artist since we graduated from college, and every artist I know says the key to creativity is hard work! The worst thing to do when you get artist’s block is to stop drawing. Sure, I have a lot of terrible drawings from those times, but some good ideas have come out of my blocks. (I’ve had plenty.) The harder you work, the more creative you get. The more I push myself, the happier I am with what I produce. I have two daughters, ages 11 and 15, and they both have the creative bug in full force. I’ve been teaching them all that I know about having the courage and discipline to develop their skills and ideas. I’m amazed by how self-motivated they are–they draw almost daily. Is it because they see me doing so? I hardly ever have to remind them to draw, which is NOT the case with practicing the piano!

  2. Katherine says

    How great to hear from you, Jane, after all these years. Thank you so much for sharing so deeply about your creative path. Theories, studies, and research about the creative process are no substitute for simply knowing the process, as you do, from your own personal experience. I look forward to being back in touch. Please share with your friends and pass it on!