What motivates you in your digital work and creative life? I am interested to know what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs looks like, after your basic needs are looked after and you set out to live and work online. I bring this idea up, because I feel like a lot of pursuits these days, while may seem attractive on the surface (“I can work from anywhere and make money to travel”), can also end up feeling rather empty (“I set up a Shopify and no one is here”).

I would say that some of the basic needs from our traditional set still carry over: People want to earn money so that they can pay the rent and eat three square meals a day. They want to project a beautiful image to the rest of the world on Instagram, which you can file under the umbrella of sex and procreation.

However a lot of the vanity metrics will leave you feeling empty at the end of the day. Even in the pre-Internet days of celebrity, quick hits of fame are fleeting and often do not last. When you look at the world of digital finance, there are similar issues. While one may appear to have gotten rich quick in the Bitcoin frenzy, it is very possible to lose those earnings a week later.

I made a list of some things I am interested in achieving when I set out to do creative projects in this environment. Some of the better ones I wrote down are:

  • Progress in the areas of knowledge and creativity – also known as expertise
  • Achieving a state of flow in my work
  • Awareness of why I do various things (we often lose sight of this as we get swept up in the world of careers)
  • By the same token, reassurance that i’m “doing this right”, even though it is difficult to find
  • Acquisition of inspiring ideas – also known as research, which requires time to cultivate, and often goes hand in hand with travel.
  • Leaving a legacy behind of positivity and innovation – ultimately to know that all the struggles of life were in place for a good reason.

Rewards of obtaining things like money and luxury are sort of our brain’s bias. They are a given.

But when we look at the lives of celebrities who already achieved these things, yet were more miserable than before, we have to create a better list of goals for the things we need.