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We all go through periods of creative blockage. But instead of sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike you out of the blue, you can instead pinpoint what interrupts your creative activity and just deal with it. Here are 10 thinking habits which are powerful creativity killers – identify them and you’ll stand a chance at moving past any creative blockages that make it your way.
1. You think about the big picture, all the time
There’s no denying that thinking about the big picture is key to the creative process. But if you’re too focused on it, you simply sabotage your chances at coming up with great ideas. Narrow the scope of your thinking and put a limitation on your process. You’ll be able to come up with smarter solutions and better concepts. Constraint breeds creativity.
2. You’re afraid of failing
This is a common fear experienced by the vast majority of creatives. Nobody wants to make mistakes. But failures still happen. If you try to avoid them, you’ll be also avoiding success. Some people believe that nothing works better for increasing one’s success rate than making as many mistakes as possible. Take a chance and you’ll be instantly more likely to succeed. And best of all – one great idea will make up for all the mistakes you’ve made on the way.
3. You’re stressed and busy
It goes without saying that stress doesn’t really help you to be more creative. And neither does being busy. Can you imagine yourself being creative while juggling 5 other tasks at the same time? This is hardly an environment that fosters innovative thinking. If you catch yourself in this moment, do your best to slow down and give your mind some freedom to wander. Daydreaming is a pathway to creativity and imagination. Cut a slice out of your schedule and devote it pure thought – you’re bound to get instant creative results.
4. You don’t believe in yourself
How many times have you met a really talented person who never got to show their true potential because they believed that they weren’t good enough? That’s right – everyone knows someone like that. Instead of postponing your success, allow yourself to be authentic and connect to that deep-seated belief that you’re good enough for the job. If you continue to doubt yourself, you’ll never reach your true creative potential.
5. You’re lost in a sea of advice
If you work in a field where everyone claims to have the ultimate solution for developing a great idea or product, you might be in trouble. It’s smart to listen, but it doesn’t mean you should follow the advice offered to you without putting it into question. Richard Feynman once said that he preferred a question without an answer than an unquestionable answer. Every path to success is different and just because something worked for a guru in your field doesn’t mean it will work for you as well.
6. You’re scared that people will be judging your work
Be it friends or family, creatives are often afraid of their judgment. And with a good reason – this type of disapproval can be harsh, because it’s very personal. Other people might pick on your imperfections, criticize your creative life choices, or comment on your work in downgrading manner. If one nasty comment has scarred you for years, it’s high time you let it go and opened your eyes to all the people who are actually supportive of your work. Appreciate them, and ignore the rest.
7. You’re overwhelmed by information
This problem is called analysis paralysis and it’s a more common condition than you’d suspect. With information available from so many sources, many creatives lose the ability to act and can’t make a choice. But you need to know when to stop collecting information and start taking action. Acting on a good plan today is always better than waiting for the perfect plan tomorrow. Perfection is in its essence unattainable, so waiting for the perfect idea makes no sense.
8. You feel that the time isn’t right yet, but have no idea when it will be
Another facet of the perfectionist mindset is waiting for the right moment to strike. Let’s get one thing clear – there will never be a perfect time to start being creative, and you might end up waiting for this moment your entire life. Why waste all this time when you could be putting yourself out there and sharing your creative output right now?
9. You lack confidence
Lack of confidence and uncertainty are both typical features of creativity. Many people believe that self-doubt is good for creative life, but only as long as it comes in small doses. Still, you need a certain belief in your abilities to develop new ideas.
One way you can deal with your lack of confidence is by gaining experience and learning how your own creative process works. Sure, some of your ideas might seem crazy at the beginning, but if you watch them bloom into great solutions time and time again, you’re bound to stop doubting yourself and just go with the flow.
10. You don’t believe that you’re that creative
Creativity is hard to define and it can’t be measured. That’s why many creatives feel that they might not be as creative as they like – or should be. This is how they effectively sabotage their creative process. Creativity isn’t a special quality reserved only for the brightest of the world – in fact, all people can be potentially creative, they just choose not to be.
Does one or more of the above resonate with you? Don’t allow these thought patterns to dominate your mind – breaking out of them is the only way you can stay creative.