“I’ve always been this way” isn’t a valid excuse if you’re human


The creative life is all about trying new things and seeing things from a new perspective.

Creativity isn’t just what you output — it’s everything you do.

And the core part of this is knowing that you yourself are your biggest creative project.

You don’t just “be creative” — you look at things.  You imagine how they could be different.  You work with what you have and devise how to acquire what you need.  If you are human, you’re creative.  You are specifically wired to be able to look at what’s around you and initiate something new.

This starts no further than right where you are.

There’s nothing more dismissive to human creativity than using the excuse “I’ve always been this way. I can’t change”. 

Of course this is how you’ve always been.  You were born into a certain place with a particular upbringing surrounded by types of people, and you developed and did what worked for you at the time.

You could’ve easily been swapped into another place with another upbringing, and acquired a completely different set of habits and preferences.

If there’s something that’s not working for you, and you wish you could change it, you can.  Like I said, you were built for this.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are what you’ve always done.

Don’t believe that you are your habits. You are so much more than how organized you’ve been, how you’ve always acted in relationships, or the way you’ve spoken up or shown up.

Just because you’ve long labeled yourself “plays it safe”, or “damaged goods”, or “disorganized” doesn’t mean that it’s permanent or ever meant anything concrete in the first place.

I do understand that some things can feel so ingrained and ‘right’, that you do not want to question them.

I have always been a hardcore night owl, it just comes naturally to me.  I’ve taken pride in it.  But having a flexible job that allowed me to work late into the night has only enabled me to go to bed later and later, and I’ve grown really tired of waking up a few hours before the sun goes down.

I’ve always resisted because I figured that because it was so natural and easy for me, it must be right .  But then why did it start to feel like such a hindrance?  Why was it starting to feel so good to get up early and have a full day of sunlight ahead of me?  I wanted both but I knew I had to make a choice.  I can always go back to “proud night owl”, but right now I’m trying on “Rises before noon and tackles the day”.

Other labels I’ve been in the process of taking off and trying on:

Taking off “owns an eclectic wardrobe full of stuff” and trying on “only owns things I love and wear a lot”.

Taking off “carefree creative rebel” and trying on “driven and passionate creative rebel”.

Taking off “having a good time is my priority” and trying on “achieving my dreams is my priority [and my new idea of a good time]”.

Taking off “I don’t do stupid small talk” and trying on “I enjoy connecting with people”.

It’s funny that all of these off-labels were once labels I felt very driven and proud to put on.  That’s the tricky bit: our most restrictive labels are often the ones we take pride in. Some of them actually crept up on me and I didn’t realize I had adopted them.  None of them are more right or wrong on their own, they just have their own time and place in my lifeline and at the moment I’m putting them away on the shelf for now.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. — Possibly Albert Einstein

You don’t have to be what you’ve always thought of yourself.

Look out at the wide world around you. There are a godzillian different choices and possibilities and combinations and pathways to try out.  Any of them could become yours.

Changing things up WILL feel really weird at first, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  It’s just different, that’s all.  It will take conscious effort to rethink things that you never questioned for many years. Think of all the people who have been living this “new” way their whole life and think nothing of it.

Just try it out.  In increments.  Dip your toes.  Wiggle into it.  Take it slow and stay curious.

2 thoughts on ““I’ve always been this way” isn’t a valid excuse if you’re human

  1. nayardt says:

    Lovely inspirational post. No one ever said this to me and they should have. I always use this as an excuse mostly to myself and now I see how this theory doesn’t apply. Thanks a lot!

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