Getting Real About Your Life: The Secret to Creativity


By Cathy Eck



Creativity occurs in the gap between our vision and our reality.  Ideally, that gap is constantly diminishing.  That’s when we enjoy our journey.

In business, I loved creating an insane challenge and then fulfilling it.  In technology, the value of a computer system was measured in years.  A three-to-five year payback on investment was normal at that time.  I promised a one-year payback.  My normal system, which was more expensive than the competition, paid for itself in three-to-six months.

Bringing down the payback period taught me a valuable lesson.  Much of my success was the vision I set for each project.  What I must share, however, is that no one believed my vision was possible.  Even the companies that hired me would say, “Yea right.  You can’t do that.”  They couldn’t do it, but I knew I could.  Only in hindsight, do I understand why.



People tend to fall into two groups.  The first group lives in the fantasy world.  They say their affirmations and focus on the positive.  They daydream of better days while ignoring the reality that they don’t believe they can achieve those days.  The extreme metaphor for these people are lottery players.  Their life is so dismal that they believe that the only way out is to win something that has one chance in a million.  These people usually have right-brain oriented views of life.  They tend to visualize, talk all the time, and philosophize, but don’t get much done.  They use cognitive dissonance to bridge gaps in their belief systems.  When their reasoning breaks down, they usually insert an angel, a miracle, or fate.  They manufacture religions.



The other group is so grounded in reality that their face is stuck in the mud.  They tend to be left brainers.  They get shit done, but often make a mess of things when they do it.  They have good memories, which they use on others to bring up things they did thirty years ago.  If science doesn’t have the answer, there’s no answer.  Nothing exists beyond reality.  Incurable is their death sentence.  They create lots of problems and want rewarded when they fix their own problems.  They get a small reprieve after they fix something — a brief moment of satisfaction.  Then something else breaks.  They argue for political, religious, or any one-sided point of view until they make everyone around them want to vomit.  These are the scientists that waste time and money proving their reality is the truth.

The place of creativity isn’t in either extreme.  Remember the old triangle process (above).  Creativity, and all the other joys of life, are at the top of the triangle.  Fantasy and Harsh Reality live at the bottom.


Enjoying The Journey to the Top

Creativity lives at the top of the triangle.  To get there, we must get honest about our current reality.  That’s our starting place.  It isn’t what we deserve, it sure as hell isn’t something we need to accept, and it isn’t something we need to face for very long.  It’s an honest assessment of our current situation.  Fantasy, the other side of the triangle, is where we want to be.  It might look possible or impossible.  That doesn’t matter.  When we bring together the right recipe of these two ingredients, and we let go, we ride the creative wave to the top.

Anyone who appears to have natural talent rides that wave every day, but often only in one aspect of their life.  I could thrive among the best in my field because I knew I could.  I didn’t “know” because I thumped my chest every morning while looking in the mirror and mimicking Tony Robbins.  I didn’t believe I could.  In fact, I actually had no beliefs that I couldn’t.  (Although after watching “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I tried out the chant-chest thump technique; I gotta admit, it was kind of fun. It made me feel like a he-man.)


Letting Go

I left the business and technology world because I wanted to learn why that worked for me and why others couldn’t do it.  I also wondered why I couldn’t do that in every aspect of my life.

It was clearly something in people’s minds that veiled their natural gifts.  I only had to find out how to reverse that man-made error.

First, I got painfully real.  Most of the world believes they have no talent.  Most people feel like pawns with no chance of fulfilling their dreams.  Most people have strong religious and family-cultural beliefs that they view as the truth.  Most of the world accepts their reality as God ordered.  There’s more, but you get the idea.  That was my “Get Real.”  Now I was done with getting real — just needed my accurate and honest starting point.

Now what’s my vision?  This was the question I wanted to solve.  How can every person unveil their unique expression, gifts and talents, and true perspective?  But I also had other conditions that clarified an acceptable answer.  I wanted the answer to be something anyone could do — not just MENSA members, not just those belonging to certain religions or clubs, and not just rich people.  It had to be win-win and possible for everyone on the planet.  It had to be simple, able to be done alone, and easy to remember.  Pretty high stakes.

Fifteen years later, I had the technique.  It met all of those conditions.  But I had to let go of a zillion beliefs to get there.  What appears to be a God-given gift or talent is actually a black holes in our mind where we have few or no beliefs.  That’s all.  Letting go, not cognitive dissonance, removes the gap between our vision and our reality.

Our beliefs rest between our get real and our vision like a big block of granite.  We keep chipping away at those beliefs with our little chisel.  One day, there’s nothing left.  We’re free.




4 thoughts on “Getting Real About Your Life: The Secret to Creativity

  1. steph says:

    is the technique just letting go of beliefs? or was it something else…

    • Cathy says:

      Not sure what you are referring to Steph. I only have one trick up my sleeve…letting go. Chest thumping isn’t my thing. Lol Cathy

  2. Tia says:

    Reading the paragraphs on Fantasy and Realism where like reading character discriptions of my mom and dad. Mom was the optimist and dad was the realist. Mom was literally a lottery player, any chance she got she would buy scratch off tickets and she would do the publisher’s claring house sweepstakes almost religiously, she still does in fact. She always talks about how we’re gonna win someday but I always felt like she was trying to reassure herself moreso than me.

    Than there’s my dad who was so far to the left, complete opposite. He didn’t trust a lot of people if any and was always working hard. There was always a problem to fix. We were always moving and relocating and our cars where always breaking down, stuff in our house always needed fixing. And oh my god if he thought he had THE one and only answer(which was very often)you were in for a nauseating debate if you had the nerve to disagree with it.

    While mom was religious, dad didn’t believe in god or anything that wasn’t tangible. It’s crazy how these two were complete opposites of one another but ended up being together, I sometimes wonder how the hell I made it to earth from such a dysfunctional relationship, LOL!

    Though they never did fight about religious veiws, at least not in front of me from what I can remember. They disagreed on plenty of other things though, they didn’t argue but it was more like my dad wanted shit to go his way all the time and mom was passive and just complied to keep the peace.

    I wasn’t always as compliant, at least when I was little anyway. When he would challenge me on my perspectives I spoke them, he did seem to have certain respect for people who could hold their own in debates and that was me at one point. But when he was hell bent on things being one way only, there was no debate.

    While not the ideal role models, they gave me a terribly perfect veiw of the illusion and it’s two opposing forces. Luckily I kept my wits about me and managed not to let the chaos kick me completely off course to my own life.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Tia,
      What you bring up is the problem with romance. We end up with the person that “completes” us because our false self is looking for a mate, not our True Self. Our True Self is already complete. So we end up with our opposites and they tell us that it is a truth of life that opposites attract.

      That is a common pair. It is kind of the illusion’s poster children. Dad has to have it his way and hates religion and kind of believes only science. Mom lives in fairy land and plays the lottery. And people call that normal.

      So you take what you get, realize that you have now learned the illusion and it wasn’t that great, and you let it all go. And your parents will think you are nuts, but that is their problem. Love, CAthy

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