How To Stop Lying To Yourself About How Creative You Are

I'm lying
image: Tayrawr Fortune

If I were to ask you the question: “How creative are you?” I can say with great certainty that you would tell me a lie.

You might want to tell the truth, and I know you’re a genuine, honest person. But you’ll still lie to me.

How do I know this with such confidence?

Because whatever you tell me, you’re bound to undersell yourself, and omit many of the ways you’re creative without even realising.

It’s the same for most of us. Hey it’s the same for ALL of us.

Most of the time we think of being creative as making art in some form. And not just any old art. We think that only by making amazing new artworks that are stunningly original and the best not only we’ve created, but the best that anyone anywhere ever has created.

Obviously, if we set the criteria for “being creative” this unrealistically high, we’re not going to then believe we’re being creative – and fitting this criteria – all that often, if ever.

It’s brilliant to have high expectations and ambitions of your creativity and want to produce the greatest artwork you’re capable of. But not at the expense of discounting all the dozens, if not hundreds, of creative acts you do each and every day of your life.

Creating isn’t about just making stuff. It’s about the way you see things, the way you think about things, the way you experience the world around you and interact with it.

You simply cannot turn off your creative mind, even if you want to. It’s constantly as eager as a puppy to imagine new stories and images and ideas and to bring them to life. That’s what it does.

And, also much like an eager puppy, when we give our creative minds the recognition they deserve – when we pat them on the head, scratch behind their ears and throw them a bone – they respond by being even more bouncy and passionate and puppyish and full to the brim of exuberance and life.

Take a pencil and piece of paper and write in the centre – “Some of the many many ways I’m creative…”

Then start to fill the page with all the many many ways you’re creative.

Remember to include the art you create – the writing, the painting, the stitching, the singing, the dancing, the photography and so on…

Also remember to include all the other ways that you might usually overlook. The meals you create, the way you dress, how you’ve created (and continue to create) a comfortable, inviting home. The many relationships you’ve built, the way you solve problems at work and home better than others. The way you style your hair.

ALL of these are expressions of your creativity.

The more often you acknowledge these many acts, the more your creativity will glow and outpour even more.

Plus then you can stop lying to your favourite creativity coach about how creative you are too. : )

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8 thoughts on “How To Stop Lying To Yourself About How Creative You Are”

  1. I’m a writer, and I berate myself when I’m not writing. I accuse myself of ignoring my creativity, and not working hard enough. I forget the baking, knitting, drawing and photography I do, let alone the epic conversations with friends and what outfit I chose that morning.

    Perfect post. This is just what I needed right now.

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    1. That’s brilliant to hear Icy. I mean brilliant that you’ve acknowledged all those other different ways you’re being creative as well as brilliant that this post helped you do that. 🙂

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  2. Oh, Dan – fabulous post. I hear so many fabulously creative folks selling themselves short because they think they don’t make “art.” Whatever that means. It’s so true that we can infuse every moment of our days with creativity — if you look at the true definition of creativity — it doesn’t say “paint critically-acclaimed canvases.” It’s making something that wasn’t there until you came along.

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    1. Yes, that’s an excellent description Kristin! Bringing something into being that only you could bring into being in your unique way…

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  3. Well if you put it like that, I am an extremely creative person! So often I will be disappointed in myself for not creating something worth while for a week or even a month but at the end of that time a piece of art will come together very quickly because I’ve been creating the piece in my mind, mulling over every detail, discarding the areas that don’t work and storing the ideas that resonate.

    I also don’t really consider preparing blog posts as creative but thinking about it, that’s really a silly assumption. Even tidying my studio (after putting it off for over a year) became an extremely creative process. Friends who visited me the other day commented that they could see an artist worked in this room because every detail was artistic…..Something I had never thought about.

    As usual your posts make me think, Dan and it is great to give credit to my creativity.

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    1. Of course writing and preparing blog posts is creative! There are many people who consider that their main artform!

      Great point about mulling over and letting ideas percolate Robyn, that’s often an overlooked part of the creative process. We don’t need our artist tools in our hands to be creative.

      Thanks for your comments.

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  4. Thanks for this post! I am a writer, but I don’t think of myself as creative. I write fiction, but I constantly tell people, “All I do is record life with new names.” Other people tell me I am creative, and I never can accept the praise. Well dammit today I will say it, “I am a freaking CREATIVE ARTIST!!!!!”
    Phew, I think I just yelled it.

    Anyway, lovely site. I found you on twitter. I’m @PamelotH.

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    1. I heard that loud and clear Pamela! 🙂

      Any of us who create in a certain form make that form, to other people, look pretty easy. People might (and will) look at your writing and think it’s brilliant, and have no idea how to write like that or to even begin, and will never be able to write like that. Don’t underrate your talents, just because you use them often and are used to them.

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