166: ABC – Always Be Creating


“I always want to be in a state of creation.”
Nick Onken

Hello everyone and welcome back to ONKEN RADIO, the podcast where we explore the mind, body, and spirit of the creative entrepreneur. My top priority is to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey! 

If you’ve followed me for a while, you might remember my ABS theory, or “Always Be Shooting.” When you work as a photographer, you have to constantly be honing in your craft and practicing. 

Always be shooting doesn’t mean reign it in 4 days out of the week and apply yourself on the remaining days. You have to get out there and practice, practice, practice. This brings us to what I want to talk about in today’s episode — the ABC theory.

Today I’ve got another solo episode for you all — something I’ve been meaning to do more of on the podcast to fill you guys in on the things that are happening in my life, my experiences, and things like that. 

As a deeply creative person, it is absolutely critical for me to integrate creativity into every aspect of my life. That kind of Identity Alchemy is what it’s all about, and it’s my goal to help you achieve the same! I want to encourage all you creative people out there to be your biggest inspiration, and to pursue creativity in all that you do. 

So, without further delay, let’s jump right into today’s episode!

Always Be Creating

Let’s break it down first. Every moment of our lives we have to constantly create. It takes a conscious choice to create art, and to be an artist is to actively choose to live in these creative moments. 

Even now, with this podcast, I am constantly learning to surrender and to bring creation to this space here and talk with you guys. 

Steven Pressfield has a book that I highly recommend checking out called The War of Art where he talks about this “resistance.” The resistance can be many things — procrastination, fear of failure, laziness — but whatever form it takes in your life, it’s essentially what keeps you from creating. 

The resistance is what keeps you from actively choosing to live in creative moments. It keeps you sitting on the couch when you could be painting or drawing or being out in the world. Of course, art can be any number of things and does not only include painting and drawing. Your art could be the business you started as an entrepreneur.

I don’t want to give anyone the idea that I think television is destructive or that you’re doing anything wrong by watching your favorite tv shows. I certainly love to watch my favorite shows! 

What I want to convey is the importance of finding a balance, and being conscious of the content we consume. One way to look at this is by asking yourself if you are spending more time creating, or consuming someone else’s content. Are you being mindful of the content you are consuming? 

In today’s world, it’s so easy to get caught up in social media and consume everyone else’s lives and content instead of creating our own. 

Staying Mindful in Social Media

Too many times have I had to take a step back and reevaluate who it is I’m following on Instagram. If I’m not careful, I can get sucked into a dark place that does not encourage me to constantly create. 

That’s why it’s so important to create awareness of where you are on social media. Always make sure the people you follow and whose content you consume are lifting you up to create your art. The content we consume should inspire us, not make us feel like we are missing out or need additional things to be happy. 

The point that I want to make is to always be creating — every moment of the day, from the time that you wake up to the time that you go to bed. The thoughts that you need to create a great day, the thoughts that you need to get up and get out of bed and go make your art, the thoughts that you need to meditate, to self-care. 

Consciously create the life that you want, because creating a beautiful life in color as an artist takes exactly that — you have to consciously create the space to create your art, to create your business, to create life balance, to put into relationships. 

The Creative Mindset

Another massive part of getting yourself in the right mindset to be inspired and fuel your creativity is creating your own space to work in. 

For example, everything in my apartment is a conscious creation of who I am as a person. It is a reflection of what I want to put out into the world and what makes me get out of bed in the morning ready to create. Everything you see in my space inspires me and encourages me to shoot photos, make hats, or just create my own moments. It’s all about being in an environment that excites and inspires you.

Ultimately, you should be creating art for yourself. Seeking validation for your art through social media or others will only destroy your creativity in the long run. You’re never going to find happiness because you’re always going to be one step away from what you believe to be the finish line. I’m never going to find happiness if I just have to do this one thing, or go here, or accomplish this one goal. 

True happiness must come from internal validation — it must come from the conscious choices we make every day to remain in a state of peacefulness. We must make the conscious, daily choice to love and care for ourselves. We must always be creating our own validation and happiness.

I know that isn’t always easy, however. Many of us have past traumas that make it incredibly difficult to live in a state of peacefulness and create a comfortable space for ourselves. 

Whether it’s plant medicine, therapy, or meditation, there are all kinds of different tools that you can use to get through that and create a space of internal happiness. We have to exist in this world and create the life that we want. 

Embrace Your Inner Creativity

In my previous episode, I spoke with the director of breathwork at Rhythmia, Christian Minson. Interestingly, we spoke about the power of breathwork and how it can help your release your shadow side — the dark side of us that houses our traumas and fears that keep us from creating. 

So many of us are living in a constant survival mode. We are so intertwined with our shadow selves that we never escape our fight or flight response — we are not living in a space of abundance and creativity. Instead, we’re choosing to live in fear rather than in a space that encourages us to live in creative moments. 

Tim Ferris wrote a book years ago called The Four Hour Workweek, and that book changed my life. It’s about designing your life and creating your life the way that you want to live — creating a business structure to fund the life that you want. 

As an artist, we have to constantly be creating both spaces. We have to create the money space to be able to fund the creative and art space and be able to create the art that we want in this day and age.

Live Abundantly

Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be in order to realize who you want to become. 

Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows or the things you don’t want to be true about you and shed them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of life and your inner world is such a huge piece of understanding who you are so that you can curate who you want to become. In general, I noticed for myself that the more inner work that I do — the deeper shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes towards the path of wholeness.

So, guys, I hope this helps you move away from living in fear. I want to keep doing more of these solo episodes so you can get to know me and my life. Always be creating from the inside out. 

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and let me know your favorite part of this podcast, I love your feedback! If you have time, feel free to leave me a review on Apple Podcasts as well! 

Additionally, you can also go take the 10-question survey and we’ll serve you some free content to help you out in your creative journey. And make sure you check out my Amazon book list as well, I have a ton of great recommendations for you to choose from! Thank you so much for joining me today, guys! 

Remember your ABCs — Always Be Creating!

Nick Onken

You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!


“You have to consciously create the space to create your art, your business, and your life balance for relationships.”
Nick Onken

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • Why you need to always be creating as an artist [1:54]
  • What creation is and isn’t [3:46]
  • The importance of creating and maintaining awareness [6:50]
  • Are you creating more than you’re consuming? [8:14]
  • Why searching for value in our work is a bad idea [10:13]
  • What can be learned from Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work Week for our creative process [13:04]

Links Mentioned:

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