I used to be creative

“I Used To Be Creative” – How To Be REAL Again


What Causes Loss of Creativity and HOW TO GET YOUR CREATIVITY BACK

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A problem that I find a lot of people struggling with when I’m coaching is that they “USED TO BE” a certain way – creative, joyful, confident, whatever – but for some inexplicable reason they’ve witnessed these REAL qualities fade away and they don’t know how to get them back.

When people find themselves having this particular problem they often start to believe that those qualities have slipped through their fingers forever and they just have to learn to live without them.

This article will show you that this way of thinking is actually part of the problem – as well as showing you how those qualities became clouded and hidden from you in the first place (and how you can get yourself back on the track to getting back in touch with them).

One thing you need to know before you start reading is something that’s been said on this site and in my books before:

What’s real about you is always real.

The kind of qualities that we’re talking about here – in particular, for the sake of this article, our CREATIVITY – aren’t something that are special or scarce but something that are vital, essential, and REAL to all human beings by virtue of being human in the first place.

They can’t go anywhere because they’re REAL – you can only distance yourself from them or prevent yourself from stretching the muscles you need to stretch to make the most of them.

We’re going to focus on the quality of ‘being creative’ as an example but what’s going to be said here applies to any real human quality that will allow us to keep growing, keep learning, and moving towards more WHOLENESS in our lives (i.e. a better connection to ourselves, the world, and reality).

We’ll start by looking at the main reasons you became DETACHED from your creativity – or, at least, started looking the other way – and then we’ll look at some things you can do to start tuning in again.

Here we go:

You started listening to the world more than yourself and you became conditioned to think the unreal things about you are real.

As the age old story goes, we’re born real but then the world starts to creep in and make us believe that we’re unreal.

It does this by giving a bunch of false beliefs and assumptions about ourselves, the world, and reality that we take on board as the truth about life and then hypnotise ourselves into believing.

As enough time passes, we forget that we’ve been hypnotising ourselves with these unreal beliefs and actually start to believe that we actually are whatever it is we’ve been telling ourselves we are.

Some people spend their whole lives believing this unreal story – always with a sense of restlessness never knowing why.

If you’re lucky then you can WAKE YOURSELF UP and start being real again – but only if you do the work required of diving into yourself and your belief systems and learning to flip the script by separating the real from the unreal.

In relation to why you “USED TO BE” creative but now hardly find yourself ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE, it all starts with this unreal story and the effects of your conditioning and your capacity to resist and wake yourself up instead of hypnotising yourself.

Somewhere along the line, you’ve allowed the world to condition you into believing that your creativity is not important (or even existent in the extreme cases) and so you’ve started to value the world and CONCEPTS more than yourself and EXPERIENCE.

Unfortunately, because the world doesn’t generally want you to be ‘creative’ and instead wants us to be a productive, money-driven member of society you probably ended up valuing the cultural values and ideals of a results-driven uncreative world.

This could’ve been something that you picked up from your parents when you were younger – who perhaps didn’t value your creative work as much as they could’ve done (or simply didn’t ‘get it’ because they weren’t on the path that you were on).

Maybe it was your peers who valued video games or whatever else – usually some other distraction – over doing the creative work that you used to enjoy doing.

Maybe it was just the general culture you grew up in and the messages you picked up from movies or mainstream music or whatever about what you ‘should’ be doing with your life and the kind of person you ‘should’ be.

It might be something completely different but it’s always the case that something somewhere along the line gave you a bunch of ideas that at the very least made you see your creativity as being LESS IMPORTANT than it actually is and – in the worst cases – made you give up on it completely.

You ‘Grew Up’ and Stopped Growing

At the end of the day, creativity is something that we ALL have – even though it can express itself differently in all our lives – because it’s something that is ESSENTIAL for the process of human beings growing more real and becoming more WHOLE.

The short-version of this is that the creative process allows whatever is going on in your unconscious mind to come to the surface and to be processed in the light of your conscious understanding – this means that you’ll have a better grasp of who you really are, what you’re really thinking, feeling, and value, and will be able to make better decisions moving forward on account of whatever INSIGHT is revealed (because more insight leads to more REALITY).

See this article about creativity for more details about that process or listen to the Creative Status Podcast.

Because creativity is so vital to our growth, we can end up being a “used-to-be-creative” if we reach a stage where we trick ourselves into thinking that we’ve done all of the growing that we need to do and that we’re now a final product instead of a work in progress.

If you tell yourself that you’ve ‘grown up’ and that you know everything you need to know or that you’re ‘right’ about everything or any of the other UNREAL qualities that come with seeing yourself as ‘finalised’ and ‘done’ learning or growing then you just end up causing yourself to believe in what I call the ‘Illusion of Stasis’.

The Illusion of Stasis is just the irrational idea that you no longer need to move with life and that the ideas you carry about yourself, the world, and reality are the final word about these things.

When you start to believe this then you end up having EGO RESISTANCE to the natural flow of reality itself (aka THE REALITY WAVES) and so you end up living in a little box and trying to control everything instead of facing and growing through the CHAOS of life (because you’ve created a false sense of order with your EGO / self-image).

The solution here is to let go of who you think you are and to allow yourself to start GROWING and moving forward again. Your creativity will have to kick back into action if you do because that’s what it’s for: to help you navigate this process in the context of your own life.

You became outcome-dependent because you forgot how to play.

If we’re not careful then as we get older and ‘wiser’ (or not), we can become incredibly results-driven and obsessed with the outcomes of whatever it is that we happen to be doing.

There’s a longer article about outcome-independence here on this site, but the short version of what it means (if you don’t know) is that your feelings of self-worth and levels of self-acceptance are dependent on the outcomes of whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

This is an irrational approach to living and a form of CONTROL FREAKERY because nobody can always achieve the outcomes that they want to achieve all of the time and so by putting your self-acceptance in the hands of outcomes you’re putting the way you feel about yourself at the mercy of chance and chaos (instead of being REAL and taking it as a given no matter what by practising UNCONDITIONAL SELF-ACCEPTANCE).

In relation to our creativity, outcome-dependence prevents us from setting out on a creative journey or by starting a creative project in the first place because we condition ourselves to believe that it’s simply not worth doing unless we can guarantee certain results.

The problem is that creativity – like life – is ultimately about facing UNCERTAINTY and the UNKNOWN and riding through the EDGE of our ideas about ourselves to be able to allow something new to emerge out of CHAOS.

In other words, if you try to get guarantees from the creative process then you’ll set yourself up for failure and be disappointed…

Creativity isn’t a one-way street – it’s a two-way exchange of information between you and reality itself. As you set out with an ‘idea’ about what you’re going to create – be it a book or a painting or whatever else – those ideas will guide you and serve as your map but you will have to learn and modify the original plan in the light of reality.

As the saying goes, “The map is not the territory”. Ever.

If you’re outcome-dependent then you won’t be able to ride out this chaotic pathway because you’ll need everything to be a certain way and try to control things to ‘protect’ your self-worth (which doesn’t even need to be protected because you’re always worthy no matter what outcomes you attain – what’s real is always real).

The opposite attitude here is to be outcome-independent which means that you set out on your creative journey knowing that all you need to really do is “do your best and forget the rest” because it’s the PROCESS that will help you the most to learn and grow real, not the end results or outcomes themselves.

If you find yourself being too ‘rigid’ about your creative goals and lapsing into outcome-dependence to the extent that you can’t even get started then you need to introduce a more PLAYFUL attitude to the way that you’re approaching things.

Ultimately, this just means staying curious, seeing what happens and taking some of the pressure off yourself to get certain results – when you were younger and “used to be” creative this is most likely the attitude that you had: it was FUN, not something serious that your whole life depends on (or at least your levels of feeling good about yourself).

In short, it’s not WHAT you do but HOW you do it.  If you create a piece of art (or whatever) in a ‘serious’, outcome-dependent way, it’s going to be a lot less real than one that’s created in a ‘playful’, outcome-independent way.

You Stopped Being Curious Because You Think You’ve Seen It All

As we get older, we can risk becoming jaded and feeling like we’ve seen it all, done it all, and been everything we will ever be.

This is, of course, a consequence of ‘growing up’ as we discussed above but there’s also a slightly deeper issue which is that our attitude becomes unreal and ends up blocking our ability to get outside of the hamster wheel of the same old thoughts and ideas we usually have and the same old things we do because of them.

Most of us will end up finding ourselves in some kind of a routine – in many ways, this is something that we need to bring a sense of structure and order to our lives and as long as this routine supports our growth without being too RIGID then it will add value to our lives.

Problems can arise, however, when we end up creating a routine at a time in our lives when we’re one version of ourselves and then life and who we ‘are’ changes around us but the routine doesn’t.

When this happens we end up just going through the motions and living on autopilot:

-Going the same way to work every day.

-Eating the same foods.

-Having the same conversations with the same people.

-Doing our hobbies at the same time each week.


You know what I’m talking about probably because we can all end up falling into this trap at some stage in our lives.

Having this problem of just going through the motions is a SYMPTOM of the FUNDAMENTAL problem of losing our curiosity.

We’re no longer curious about different ways of going to work, eating different things, talking about certain things, or doing our hobbies when we do – we just do it because that’s what we’ve identified with those things and so “It’s always been this way”.

The way out is to MIX THINGS UP by bringing some curiosity back into your life:

“What if I do it this way?”

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated but – ultimately – by being curious enough to at least ask yourself different questions you can start getting different results (if you act on the answers you get).

If you keep acting out on the answers you already think you have then you just end up putting yourself in an imaginary bubble and holding your back from the REAL LIFE you could be living as a consequence of your real creativity.

To be creative again, start asking yourself some new questions.

You learned to judge yourself and that held you back.

In short, the main reason why you “used to be” creative but no longer find it as easy to express yourself or to explore creative ideas and projects in the way that you used to is because you have picked up JUDGEMENTS.

Almost always these judgments are at three levels (the only three levels that exist): yourself, the world, and reality.

At the level of YOURSELF, you have learned to judge yourself if you express certain qualities that your creativity requires of you: taking RISKS, not being ‘good’ enough (because you’re being outcome-dependent), judging the version of yourself you see in the CHAOS of the creative process as it unfolds that your EGO isn’t ready for yet.

At the level of the WORLD, you have learned to judge what you think your work ‘means’ to others instead of just enjoying the process and learning what you can from it for YOURSELF (and then letting it just mean what it actually MEANS).

At the level of REALITY, you have learned to judge the way that things work and to BLOCK yourself from allowing your creativity to take you in the direction you need to go in so that you can make the unconscious conscious and grow more WHOLE.

All of these – and any other – judgements that you pick up and treat as being real take you out of REALITY because the only thing you can do with reality is accept it and judgement is the antithesis of acceptance.

When you have this attitude, you end up living in a way that is in direct contrast to the values and qualities required to be truly creative – in short, you have become CLOSED to life instead of being OPEN and seeing where life and creativity will take you (which is always where you need to go because your REAL creativity is the vehicle of your natural drive towards WHOLENESS).

How to Overcome Lack of Creativity: Get Out of Your Head and Into Reality

As always, the solution is to remember that “Real always works” and to start training yourself to be more open and real again.

This means stopping and catching yourself when you judge, embracing uncertainty and risk instead of running from it, and making sure that you’re on a journey of learning instead of ‘knowing’ everything.

If you spend too much time in your head then you can never be truly creative because you’re blocking your mind-body system from working together as a whole and fulfilling your natural drive to move towards more connection in yourself and life as a whole.

Like I just said, your creativity is the vehicle for allowing this natural drive to move forward – actually, whether you try to consciously direct it or not it will still do its thing (because what’s real is always real and never goes anywhere).

That’s a topic for another article but the short-version is that to live a life without friction,  you need to embrace and ride WITH this process instead of against it and that means opening to life instead of sticking in your head and trying to control everything from the closed parts of you.

You’ll know what this means in the context of your own life and where you’re holding yourself back (and if you don’t check out the 7-Day Course at personalitytransplant.info or read my books about it).

You “used to be” creative because you have temporarily bought into the illusion that you’re not. The way out of this temporary blip in your life is to get real again, see yourself as you are, and start living as whatever that is instead of the uncreative being you’ve allowed yourself to think yourself into being.

If this story inspired or helped you then please share it with others! 🙂

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Creative Status Podcast

If you're interested in growing REAL, creativity, and living a life that you really want to be living then check out the latest episode of Creative Status - a podcast about deconstructing ego, integrating the shadow, and learning to trust life.

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Hi, I'm Oli Anderson - a Transformational Coach for REALNESS and author who helps people to tap into their REALNESS by increasing Awareness of their real values and intentions, to Accept themselves and reality, and to take inspired ACTION that will change their lives forever and help them find purpose. Click here to read my story about how I died, lost it all, and then found reality.

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