5 killers of creativity

Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person (which is nonsense but we’ll get to that shortly), you definitely experienced a state of blockage where you simply sense a lack of ease, efficiency and results in everything you do. Maintaining a creative mojo can indeed be quite challenging even for those who are the most powerful in expressing themselves, their ideas and dreams because even they can get stuck between a stockpile of projects and objectives and the means to carry them out.

However, those who are more likely to overcome these moments or situations and cross the finish line of their own plans are those who learned that no one and nothing can hold you back as “capably” as yourself and when you invest the time to understand this just a bit more specifically, you will discover some of the enemies of creativity you can so easily and inadvertently help. Here we smoked out what we consider to be the worst of these enemies:

1. Overpushing.

This happens when you simply don’t know when to walk away from a task. Just indulge an honest reflection and see if there’s any progress in what you’re doing at that moment or any real probability for it to occur in the near future – if the answer you come up with is negative then it’s time to let go of it for a while. Again is one of those situations when less means actually more. Besides, even if you are not aware of it, your brain is still plugged-in, working on a solution or idea which explains those moments in the morning on waking up when you “just know” what needs to be done, what the solution is. This means that sometimes the wisest thing is to back off a little bit so you don’t scare off your muse a little longer.

2. Overpreparing.

This one follows the pattern – too much of a good thing is a bad thing. While making plans and organizing your stuff is recommended, letting yourself completely absorbed by plans is not and this can be an easy error to fall victim to especially if you decided at one point you wanted to be more productive and add more planning to your life, unhappy with past results. A man with a single plan but the determined to act immediately upon it even if it might not be the perfect plan, versus a man with a dozen plans but the inability to get things started on account of lacking total guarantee of success is a good example of the danger perfectionism poses. Actually, the fear of failure can hide just as much behind an apparently organized person than it does in a total non-doer. Always bear in mind that focusing too much on how things can unfold in the future will prevent you from enjoying them in the present but also from making real progress since all progress happens in real time even if it’s measured over time.

3. Overthinking: the not-good-enough syndrome.

Again, the fear of failure dictates that you’re just not that good to jump at that opportunity. You can easily find examples in all domains of successful people who engaged and committed unreservedly to something without having much idea at first what it was they were getting themselves into and how it was supposed to be done. Enthusiasm, daring and the desire to learn and improve eventually lead them to great accomplishments. If wait until you become a mega-specialist at something before attempting to make your skills available, chances are you will become a mega-specialist at killing your creativity.

4. Overbusyness.

Creative blockage becomes a haunting habit when we, in turn, create the habit of letting stress and busyness taking over our lives. Keeping yourself busy all the time can be a great distraction from acknowledging your real problems and can even be illusively put out as a sign of being extremely creative. Allowing your imagination time to wander, your mind time to rest and lean over non-doing is essential for feeding your creative flow. Being too busy to pursue a hobby or enjoy nature, and gain inner balance is just a poor excuse you’ll be using as long as you can afford self-lying. Slow down to catch up! While it may sound like a line form Captain Planet, the power to control the busyness of your life is yours. Resist being dragged into the sinky sands of excuses of the type: “I would love to read more but I don’t have time”, “I know I haven’t gone for a walk for like decades but I’ll get out more when I have more time to spare”. This sends the “dead end” postcard to your creative thinking. If you like being busy why not being busy with something you like?

5. Overdoubting.

Family, school, society – they can all participate in choking off your creative spark by presenting you with norms and standards and even ways that prove you as being creative; that’s true but eventually you cannot simply settle for the role of the victim. You have power and control over your creativity because, first of all, you are creative. Everyone is. It’s just that we express it within levels and frames that differ. That’s all. So plunge headfirst into your own creative juice and cash in on the amazing resourcefulness hidden inside you, waiting for you signal to come pouring in. That signal is simply believing. Yeah, it’s probably annoying for some, but you still can find too many achievers out there who weren’t also believers. Can you believe that?

Check out my related book:

Go Nuts: The Art of Creativity and Innovation

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.