How to Prevent Stifled Creativity

This week I was tasked to tell a story using only 5 photos without any written explanation as to what is happening. To be quite honest, I had a hard time trying to decide what I wanted to share. Rather than letting creativity flow, I focused too much on the logistics behind my story. Stifling creativity in myself and others is something I have been made aware of so I decided to challenged myself by participating in creative activities like improv, brainstorming, and creative writing.

Here is my 5-Photo Story

*I’m the one with The Flash shirt

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Are you stifling your creativity?

Learn about 5 bad habits that stifle creativity and how to prevent them.

1. Creating and Evaluating at the Same Time

Guilty! I am the type of person that is often observing and evaluating EVERYTHING. And when it comes to creating, generating new ideas, visualizing, looking ahead, and considering the possibilities, I get into a blocked mental state because my brain is also trying to evaluate, analyze, or pick apart ideas into those that are possible and impossible, thus stifling the creative process.

Rather than evaluating too soon or too often, separate creation from evaluation. Start by throwing out ideas first then judging their worth later.

2. Fear of Ambiguity

I like things to make sense. If you were to ask any person that knows me well to tell you something about me, I can guarantee they will say I am a neat and tidy person; however, life is not neat and tidy. There are things I don’t understand and problems I can’t solve which really bother me, but I have realize that some things won’t make sense and I need to be ok with that.

Most great creative ideas emerge from a swirl of chaos. It’s important to develop a part of yourself that is comfortable with mess and confusion, and become comfortable with things that work even when you don’t understand why.

3. Lack of Confidence

For years I have been expecting perfection with every creative act. Let’s be honest, I know I’m not the only one that expects every attempt at Pinterest recipes or crafts to come out perfectly.

You must have confidence in your abilities in order to create and carry out effective solutions to problems. It’s healthy to have self-doubt and fail. This experience builds confidence and increases understanding of how creativity works.

When you understand that ideas often seem crazy at first, that failure is just a learning experience, and that nothing is impossible, you are on your way to becoming more confident and more creative.

4. Being Overwhelmed by Information 

Have you been stuck thinking about a problem and the information you gathered but end up with a mental block that you lose the ability to act? “Analysis paralysis” is caused by overthinking.

Successful people know when to when to stop collecting information and start taking action. Many subscribe to the “ready – fire – aim” philosophy of business success, knowing that acting on a good plan today is better than waiting for a perfect plan tomorrow.

5. Discouragement from Other People

Although it’s easy to take the easy route and conform, be sensible, and not rock the boat, you must ignore the naysayers and carry out with your creative endeavors.

The path to every victory is paved with predictions of failure. Embrace a “growth mindset.” You’ll begin seeing failure as a way to grow and therefore embrace challenges, persevere against setbacks, learn from criticism, and reach higher levels of achievement.

Once you have a big win under your belt, all the naysayers will shut their noise and see you for what you are — a creative force to be reckoned with.

If you recognize some of these problems in yourself, give yourself a pat on the back! Knowing what’s holding you back is the first step toward breaking down the barriers of creativity.

How about you? What mental habit has been hardest on your creativity? Comment below. 

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