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Remove Your 10 Blocks To Creativity

by Evelyn on May 5, 2008


(Photo Credit: Laffy4k at Flickr)

Most people, including yourself, may think about about creativity as doing well in art and music. So if you find that you are nowhere near producing great works in these areas, you may well declare that you are not creative. However, I would like to embrace a broader definition of what creativity is.

To begin with, you need not be a genius to be creative. Creativity is a surge – a burst of imaginative and new ideas or your own unique interpretation of your five senses – that arises within your inner Being and turning this surge into reality. It also involves the the translation of your unique gifts and talents into something new and useful.

Creativity can also be about problem solving. In fact, you do not need to have a big problem to solve, to be considered creative. If you can solve your everyday problems in an ingenious way or come up with solutions to plug gaps, you are creative.

Creativity is the working of your right hand brain. Unfortunately, many of us have not spent a great deal of time developing this part of the brain when we were younger. It appears that formal school education tend to favor left-brain thinking rather than right brain ones. Left brain thinking involves analysis, logic and linearity. On the other hand, right brain thinking involves creativity, intuition, feeling and aesthetics.

Traditionally, the majority of jobs that involve more left brain thinking skills such as being an accountant or lawyer, tend to pay higher. You often hear of the term “struggling” used for an artist but it is seldom the case for one in the professional and corporate arena. In fact, jobs in accountancy, banking and engineering, are often said to be more stable.

Why You Should Explore Creativity

Creativity is A Way To Self Discovery

Creativity offers you the opportunity to finding out things about yourself, your inner Being. It is about connecting with your natural affinity. It is about going into a space where you can retreat to and experience joy and security. This has been my experience. There have been countless times when I have felt so connected with my inner Being while painting or doing a craft work. More recently, I have been exploring creativity through writing. I enjoy putting a unique spin to old tired themes and drawing on my knowledge from diverse areas to churn out new ideas for thought.

Then again, creativity is not so much about being able to produce great ideas successfully. It is more about the process and the thinking that went behind it. It is about the aspects of spontaniety, imagination, sensitivity and fluency of ideas. It is the fertile soil, out of which seeds of translating ideas from imagination to reality can take root.

“Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.”
— Quote by Erich Fromm (German born American social Philosopher and Psychoanalyst, 1900-1980)

Creativity Brings About Fulfillment

In fact, you will find that those who make use of their creative abilities in their jobs tend to be happier as compared to those who don’t. Creativity is a form of self expression and in that, represents fulfillment. All areas of learning can be potentially creative experiences. Because creativity brings out the very best in ideas, it is possible that those who can incorporate their abilities and imagination into their job, outperform those who don’t.

I know all too well how it feels like if creativity is left buried. One of my biggest grouses is that I never took the opportunity to develop creativity when I was younger. I was an accountant by training and chose banking as my career – both scopes that never quite stoke the fire in me. If anything, I felt bored most of the time. With a new realisation of how creativity fulfills me, I now seek to express myself in a variety of ways.

“It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life”
— Quote by Barthold Georg Niebuhr

Creativity Helps You To Problem Solve And Be More Adaptable

For problem solving in difficult and challenging situations, a dose of creativity can be helpful. Here is where out-of-the-box thinking can help generate fresh solutions and also encourage risk taking. Brain storming exercises are useful in this respect.

Being creative also helps you to be flexible and to adapt quickly to changing environments. If you do not nurture creativity from young, you can find it harder to respond to changes especially when they fail to happen as expected. While you may have led a sheltered life when you were younger, as a adult, you will come to know that life is indeed unpredictable. Being stubborn with a refusal to let go of ideas that are out-dated, is a sure creativity killer!


 

10 Blocks To Creativity

Blocks to creativity exist when you find yourself not having a creative space that you can escape to. Your life feels dull and you do not feel inspired. You experience little joy in what you do. It is more like going through the motions!!

Blocks to creativity also exist if you find yourself falling short of your potential. Your inner knowing tells you that you are capable of much more; yet when you try, it seems hard to have a major breakthrough. It is possible that you are stifling the genius within, when you do not allow adequate self expression.

1. Fear of Criticism. Perhaps one of the biggest blocks to exploring creativity lay in the fears that your ideas will be criticized. You are afraid that you will not receive support. After all, if your ideas are new and have never been explored before, you put yourself at risk of being ridiculed for them. You perceive that the more your ideas deviate from current norms and trends, the greater the chance of receiving a poor response to them. In seeking to protect your fragile ego, you prefer not to voice your ideas. You would rather not even indulge in your creative daydreams to begin with!

2. Fear of Making Mistakes. Then, there is also the fear that you are setting yourself up for more failures by coming up with new ideas. While creativity gives you a chance for innovation, your ideas may turn out to be a success or a complete flop. “Wouldn’t it be safer to stick to conventions or to old and tested ways?” you reasoned. Fear of making mistakes can be a huge obstacle, preventing you from exploring creativity freely.

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” — Quote by Erich Fromm

2. Too Much Clutter. Too much clutter can block the flow of creativity. Clutter can be both mental or physical clutter. In terms of mental clutter, creative ideas cannot flow freely if you are limited by thoughts of negativity like fear, blame, worry or shame. It will be quite impossible for ideas to come round, if your mind is constantly busy with thoughts; such as making arrangements for your schedule, how to make ends meet or whether or not to join the MLM program that your friend is promoting.

In terms of physical clutter, too much paper and things lying around, as well as too many possessions, can be distracting. They are productive suckers, occupying your mind with little or no space left to explore creativity.

3. Low Self Confidence. If you suffer from low confidence, you may believe that you are not capable. Hence, you choose to believe that you are not able to come up with creative ideas. You think that creativity is the domain of only geniuses or those who are smarter than you. Limiting thoughts make great blocks to creativity!

4. Not Enough Time To Relax. A brain that is overworked, with no time set aside for relaxation, will find it hard to produce creative ideas. It is too busy with thoughts on activities and tasks. When you are relaxed, great ideas will flow like gushing water from a tap that is fully turned on.

5. Inadequate Sleep. Inadequate sleep can hinder you in coming up with creative ideas the next day. Your physical body needs to feel good first before you can develop and explore your mental creative faculties.

In fact, it is said that many successful people have received their greatest revelations while in a dream-like state and transformed their own lives or even the world around them. One good example was Thomas Edison, who was awarded 1368 distinct patents and invented, including the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, the film projector, and the first motion picture. Edison was known to have said, “Ideas come from space”. Edison purportedly took frequent naps in the afternoons and woke up with solutions to the most perplexing problems.

6. Lack of Priority. If you do not attach any importance to being creative, guess what? You are not going to enjoy the benefits of being creative either. You will be like how you are now – dull and listless. Consider setting aside time for developing creativity. It will be a good idea to also start keeping an idea journal, to facilitate this process.

7. Stubborness. A refusal to let go of your existing beliefs and thoughts can limit you in thinking of new possibilities. The more you identify yourself with specific values, meanings, beliefs and symbols, the more you will stifle creativity. On the other hand, the more you focus on how values, meanings, beliefs and symbols are formed and interrelated, the more you can explore creativity.

8. Seriousness. Not allowing yourself the sense of playfulness can be a huge block to creativity. You may associate playfulness as being childish. And hence, you do not give yourself the permission to explore things with a child-like wonder. Yet, it is being playful that allows avenues for relaxation and hence, fresh perspectives.

9. Poverty Thinking. You tend to associate those in the creative arts as poor and struggling. Hence, you may feel that it is not important to explore creativity since it cannot help you pay your bills. Why bother to waste time developing right brain thinking when you can rely adequately on your left brain to feed you?

10. Inappropriate Comparisons. If you think that only special, talented people are creative and that geniuses are born and not made, then you may have no wish to develop your creative abilities. You protest that you can barely draw, sing or dance. You are definite that you are tone-deaf or color-blind. You consider people like Shakespeare, Picasso and Mozart as “gifted”.

Here is an exciting piece of information for you: When researchers examined outstanding performances in the arts, mathematics and sports, to determine if “the widespread belief that to reach high levels of ability, a person must possess an innate potential called talent”, they discovered the opposite. It is also important to highlight, for instance, that Mozart trained for 16 years before he produced a masterpiece.

While it is true that it is best to develop your innate abilities, the strict definitions of creativity to areas in arts, should not apply. Creativity is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in almost every profession. It can be explored, developed and trained in many ways.

Creativity Resonates With Abundance

In conclusion, let me end off this article by explaining why I am discussing about creativity on this blog…..

It is in you to naturally want to create. As a human being, you are drawn to the process of creation. Creativity is the doorway to your Expanding and co-Creating in this Universe.

Creativity brings about the flow of pure energy in your inner Being. Escaping into the space of self discovery offers you the opportunity to use your faculties of imagination and play. When you are creative, you become open to possibilities in ideas. With no blocks to the flow of ideas, you experience no limits to what you think is possible.

In this space, you may decide what you want and do not want. You choose to focus your thoughts eventually on what you desire. As you focus your thoughts intently, then what you focused on can turn into reality. Remember the famous saying by Napolean Hill? – “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”.

By virtue of the law of attraction, you can attract the outcomes, of the same vibrational match to the energy of your thoughts, that will bring your ideas into fruition. In short, it is possible to experience life in abundance, as you can use your creative imagination to visualize possibilities and bring them into reality through focused thought and pure intent.

Creativity brings about a flow of focused energy that resonates with abundance and possibilities. So, if you are experiencing blocks to creativity, then it is time to do something. Look for ways to remove them. It is possible to enjoy all there is that lies in your imaginative mind!

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{ 22 comments }

Jonathan from JonathanMead.com May 5, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Evelyn,

Your last point about comparing your self to other people really hit home for me. I think I have a habit of blocking my creativity at times because I’m trying to measure up to others that I feel are creative geniuses. I’ll often inhibit myself or keep myself from being creative because I don’t feel that I can compete on the same level.

What I often forget is that creativity is something cultivated. You have to be willing to take risks and let go. You have to release your need to judge everything.

I would also like to add one of the biggest blocks I think to creativity is not being in the present. When we’re focused on how things will turn out (outcome) or how ideas will generate (future) we’re stifling our creativity. Creativity is losing track of time and being completely in the present, in the flow and ebb of life.

Thanks for this wonderful article, here’s to getting those creative juices flowing!

Jonathan

Akemi - Yes to Me May 5, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Yep, creativity is about everything in life — we even create our own businesses!
For me, it’s about thinking possibilities and having fun with it. And the fun is in the process as much as in the results (products).

Mark McCullagh May 5, 2008 at 7:41 pm

It’s amazing how many factors can contribute to enhancing creativity. And I agree with Jonathan regarding your last point about inappropriate comparisons.

I have recently been thinking that some of the top performers in the arts and in sport are also the hardest working individuals who got there and maintain their high level of performance through discipline and perseverance. Not to mention blood, sweat, tears, and an unwavering faith.

Cory May 6, 2008 at 8:47 am

Great post! I believe creativity is within us all, or put another way, we are all inherently creative geniuses. The secret is in tapping into this. In a 5 part series just started on i-sorcerer I used the following quote to help make the point that creativity IS the essence of life:

“If you let hydrogen gas alone for 13 billion years it will become giraffes, rose bushes and humans.”

Brian Swimme (Physicist)

Cory

Evelyn May 5, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Hello Jonathan,

The idea is to refrain from comparing because each of us has a unique voice. Rather than spend time checking out what my competition is doing, I prefer to seek new experiences that is enhancing. This is where ideas flow more easily to me.

Thanks for adding the last point. It occurred to me while I was editing my own article but was too exhausted at midnight to add it in. But you’ve described it really well :-)

Hello Akemi, here’s to having more fun during the creative process!

I totally agree, Mark. The fact that these people are termed “geniuses” make us blind to the fact that they have also worked very hard to get to where they are. They may have innate abilities but a lot of their successes was also due to a strong perseverence.

Thanks for all your feedback,
Evelyn

Hunter Nuttall May 6, 2008 at 8:46 am

I just had to comment on that mesmerizing picture of the crayons. So simple but so amazing! I think I need to spend a bit more time creating beautiful sculptures out of ordinary objects. Surely that would help boost my creativity.

Jeff@MySuper-Charged Life May 6, 2008 at 9:42 am

I think most of us have struggled with all the things in your list above from time to time. I agree that these are generally our biggest creativity blocks. Excellent article! I gave it a Digg and Stumble!

lamaha May 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm

I like that crayon pic, I used to build stuff like that all the time.

These are some great tips, Bravo!

Another thing I find to be creativity inspiring at times, is a nice bottle of wine!

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work May 6, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Inadequate sleep has been getting me of late. I would add that just about any health challenge limits our ability to create. Another one that stalls my creativity is when I make too many promises. These unfulfilled requests just drain my energy until resolved.

Evelyn I also love these lines. “Creativity is a surge – a burst of imaginative and new ideas or your own unique interpretation of your five senses – that arises within your inner Being and turning this surge into reality. It also involves the translation of your unique gifts and talents into something new and useful.”

That’s a wonderful definition. Thank You. I also love the fact that you are confident enough to quote yourself. Cool beans!

Erek Ostrowski May 6, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Great post Evelyn! I like the broader perspective on creativity, and the premise that creativity is available to or accessible by everyone.

Another block that you kind of hinted at from several different directions has to do with trust. That is, not trusting that what you create or produce will be of value, or not trusting yourself in the moment, to be able to create.

Thanks!
Erek

Evelyn May 6, 2008 at 9:49 pm

@Tom, glad that you like the article.

@Erek, that was insightful of you. Not trusting ourselves enough is a sure creativity stopper!

Evelyn

Evelyn May 6, 2008 at 9:54 pm

@Jeff, I must confess that from time to time, I still suffer from some of the points detailed in my post. Definitely, an awareness of them helps me to overcome my blockages.

Evelyn

Dr James D Swann May 7, 2008 at 8:27 am

Evelyn, my dear one,
You have again hit the proverbial nail on the head.
A large number of experts are suggesting that because all creativity is an embodied experience, body practices such as dance, yoga, martial arts, and also various forms of meditative practices, will help enhance creativity. Being more aware of our body increases our capabilities in so many areas of life, where virtually nothing is impossible to achieve. Without creativity we cease to be productive, essential human beings, with no hope of escaping our own self-made prisons (yet even then it is our creation!).
Excellent article, Evelyn! You make me envious of your insights and creativity (smile)!
Much Love & Light, James

Evelyn May 7, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Dear Dr James,

Thanks for sharing about the part that body practices being a part of creativity.

I’ve only truly known creativity better since starting this blog. If anything, my kids are the lucky ones. They are starting much younger. Because of what I’ve been through, I know how it feels like to being stifled. I have been encouraging them in developing their innate creative abilities, knowing that they are also doing art, music and painting out of having fun and enjoying the process.

To Co-creating this Universe in Light, Beauty and Love,
Evelyn

Debra July 5, 2008 at 6:55 pm

This was a great article I just stumbled upon on my meanderings through webland looking for a road to unblocking creativity. For me it’s the whole confidence thing. Any suggestions or resources that deal with this?

Lailah December 18, 2008 at 3:39 am

I totally agree with these 10 blocks. I don’t remember the specific statistic, but did you know that children are able to come up with many more creative solutions for a problem when compared to adults?

I taught children TV/Film production and was completely amazed at their ingenuity!

Keep up the good information!

Evelyn January 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Hello Lailah, You’ve just given me a great idea. I’m going to put my kids to the test! Thanks…lol!

Evelyn

Kristen May 7, 2009 at 5:58 am

You are right! It is so important for people to realize they aren’t victims of their reality, they are actually creators of their reality and until we change what we are focusing on (whether we realize we are focusing on it or not) our lives and businesses and relationships won’t change for the better.

What better way to do this than by exploring your infinite creativity!

Baker August 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Wow. Your blog is really unique.

Michael S. February 5, 2010 at 2:53 am

You have number 2 twice and no number 8.

scheng1 March 2, 2010 at 12:02 am

The crayons remind me of my childhood.
Long long ago, we showed off our creativity by coloring the walls, and got a good spanking. Hard to forget those days.

outstanding May 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

As if dealing with emotional and perceptual blocks isn’t enough, we also need to overcome our cultural conditioning. Cultural blocks are created by attitudes in society and among our peers which have the effect of inhibiting creative thinking. Sometimes these cultural blocks are so much a part of our upbringing that we’re practically blind to them.

Here are some of the most common cultural blocks:

1- only clever , successful or artistic people can be creative
2- you have to suffer hardship and pain to be truly creative
3- only young people have creative ideas
4- time and money and effort needed ; creative thinking is luxury most of us can’t afford
5- it’s only for men/ women
it’s really great informative post i enjoyed thanks for sharing this

Evelyn Reply:

Thank you for posting common cultural blocks. Very informative for me too!

All the best,
Evelyn

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