What's stopping you from being creative?

For some people, coming up with ideas comes really easily but for others it involves more hard work and effort. But what is it that is getting in your way of being creative?

In this article you will learn:

  • What’s stopping you from thinking creatively
  • Why you might need to limit your creativity
  • Strategies to help you be more creative

1. Fear

The fear of failure often stops us in our tracks. And that’s still true when it comes to thinking creatively.  But Michael Parker, former ‘ad man’ turned pitching expert, said on the Live.Life.Better. podcast last year: “Some people just have that ability to let go of the emotional side and somehow have a freedom of expression. Think Usain Bolt doing his gestures. Even as they come to the starting line you know who's going to win. I think that is a sort of emotional mentality thing. A lot of athletes are very happy training like crazy, but don't feel quite as happy when you have to do that little bit extra and expose yourself.”

If you can tap into that ability to “let go of the emotional side” then you have the ability to free yourself to think more creatively.

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2. Excuses

It’s easy to come up with all the reasons you’re ‘just not someone who’s good at creative thinking’ but that’s holding you back from fulfilling your true potential as a brilliant idea generator. Antony Burrill, famous graphic artist, says this is something that’s preventing creativity: “I think it's things like making excuses for yourself too. Not getting out there and showing people your stuff. I remember I worked on my portfolio for probably about three or four years after I left college, and I was always saying, 'It's not quite ready yet. When it's finished, I'll go and see lots of people with it.' You kind of... it never got finished. It's still not finished. I think it's a matter of just kind of getting out there and showing people your work through whatever means that is. Whether it's through your Instagram or actually physically meeting people face to face. It's just a matter of getting on with things really.”

Instead, put yourself, your ideas, your work out there. You never know what might happen.

Read: How to discover ideas we won't be able to live without

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3. Thinking too big

Sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the task at hand and end up being paralysed when trying to come up with ideas. Iris Shoor suggests on Lifehacker putting constraints on your idea generation. She says: “When we use constraints it's usually easier to come up with more ideas. The way we think relies on connections – a certain smell can conjure an old memory, a name can bring up someone's image. When we use constraints we trigger more ideas, and come up with more solutions. Even when there aren't any constrains people tend to create them. When most people are asked to name 10 cities they'll use some kind of connection between them – capital cities, cities I visited this year, etc.

“So, in a way we're never really outside the box, we simply move between boxes. One of my favourite creativity tricks is creating a set of constraints by placing myself in someone else's box. Try taking an existing or a half baked project and rethink it in someone else's shoes.”

Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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