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Top 5 (self inflicted) barriers to creativity

March 9, 2011

Most of the obstacles to being creative can be found within ourselves.

When struggling with a creative challenge we often blame external factors and shortage of resource; time, people, money etc. Yet most of what inhibits us from generating ideas is internal, by recognising these personal flaws we give creativity a far greater chance.

  1. Habit – as George Lois described, “The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality”. Following a comfortable formula or a rigid process will only result in repetitive solutions.
  2. Perfectionism – there are no perfect solutions, only possibilities. Believing in an ultimate solution is mind narrowingly frustrating.
  3. Ambition – strangely, being over-ambitious can hinder creativity, the daunting scale of the seemingly unachievable goal can paralyze.
  4. Envy – creatives are inspired by others, we read, research and observe to stimulate our creative energy. Yet spending too long analysing others only generates inadequacy.
  5. Fear – possibly the overarching trait to all of the above – fear of being wrong, of falling short, of looking foolish or unprofessional, fear of showing our true, slightly flawed, human self will always stifle expression.

These are just the barriers, recognising them is the first step. Some ideas and solutions for ways to overcome them will follow.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2011 11:26 pm

    I’m guilty of all five deadly sins. Number 2 is definitely my creativity’s biggest enemy. (By the way, I like the neatness and structure of committing to 200-word posts.)

  2. March 10, 2011 10:12 am

    Hi Nick,
    Thanks for the suggestion, ideas are composting already; I agree with ‘Posibility over Perfection’ everytime.
    Lots of information on your site, straight to the point.
    I’m interested.

    • March 10, 2011 2:26 pm

      Hi Amanda, thanks for the comment. I do my best to keep it focused, but have so many different areas I want to write about. I suppose the common thread is creativity, hopefully that holds it all together. Cheers, Nick.

  3. April 9, 2011 5:17 am

    Great post, Nick! Succinct and so true.

    ~Sandy Ackers


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