Sometimes, we all feel paralyzed. It can happen out of the blue. A few moments ago you were flooded with ideas, and the day wasn't long enough to realize them all. But then, without a warning, nothing worked anymore. However, sometimes, it's a silent process, enclosing you slowly but surely. Then, it becomes incredibly difficult to think of something useful and to be creative and productive. Don't worry; there are ways to keep creativity killers under control. Read on; I'll show you some today.
1 - The Monotony
We are the sum of our experiences. In many situations, the way we think about things determines what kind of life we live. But exactly this way of thinking causes problems easily, as many people live in a total work monotony. They always sit in the same place, and always execute the same tasks. This can easily wear you down.
Bring Variety to Your Life
Fueling creativity and positive thoughts are pretty simple when the following things are possible: Just do things that you usually never do. Search for a different room to work in. Check the chances of working in an entirely different place. Brian Gardner, the creator of the Genesis framework, for example, visits the closest Starbucks to work in.
You could also go and work in a library. Or visit a café during your breaks and let your mind relax. Lay down on a meadow and spread your limbs. Anything works, as long as it's different from the routine.
2 - Self-Doubt
You have a very good idea but think you can't realize it? Because your idea is out of your league? Maybe you'd want to let someone else try their luck then? This is exactly what you shouldn't do, as it's not beneficial for your life.
Our life is what our thoughts make it
- Marc Aurel
Always believe that you can do it
Give your idea a chance, and try your best to realize it. You'll grow with your tasks. At first, everything might seem overwhelming, but the longer you deal with your idea, the more possible it will appear. Don't let it bring you down, and, above all: don't make yourself smaller than you are, as then, you'll only limit yourself.
Make your ideas come to life. The more challenges you have to deal with, the more you will grow as a person, the more creativity you'll receive. In addition to that, you'll gain new abilities and learn new techniques. So, never doubt yourself and give your ideas a chance. Of course, you'll run into hazards, but overcoming them will only make you more creative.
3 - The Fear of Failure
What happens when you can develop a lot of ideas, but still carry the fears of failing and not making enough profit? When the fear of making mistakes paralyzes you and prevents you from thinking clearly? The fear of failing and making mistakes is one of the biggest creativity killers. Relax, this monster can be defeated.
Face this monster and you will be gifted with short- and long-term creativity. Of course, it can be tough to have your work exposed to the controls of other people. However, failing in front of an audience is tougher.
Face Your Fear and Get to Work
The more you tell yourself that you can't do it, the faster you'll actually become unable to do it. It's the self-fulfilling prophecy. Not trying something means that you'll never learn, and never be better at what you're doing. This significantly harms the creativity. So, even when you think you can't do it, you should still do it. What's the worst thing that can happen? It would be the experience that you can't realize your idea yet. But at least you tried. And that's exactly what will give you a good feeling.
Don't be scared of mistakes. Failure and mistakes are a part of life. We grow through our mistakes and learn from them. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn. People that don't make mistakes don't work, and don't learn. The more mistakes you make in your life, and in your job, the more you'll learn and grow. However, you shouldn't make the same mistakes multiple times but learn from them instead. Then, every mistake is a success.
4 - Don't Make Excuses
Does this seem familiar? You want to do, achieve, or realize something. But you lack the necessary background knowledge, the right technology for the successful execution? Or are you not positive to be able to master a large project? Stop!
Always Search for Solutions
Never find excuses for why you can't do something. These excuses slow you down, take your creativity, and make you smaller than you are. A lot smaller than you'd have to be.
Never look for reasons why you can't do something. Always think about how you can do it anyway.
Think this way: I can do it because I have a free hour every morning. I can do it because I can read tutorials that teach me the missing abilities. I can do it because I know someone to realize the project with. Always ask the right questions and you'll receive the right answers.
5 - Don't Keep Your Ideas Secret
Hiding ideas and not sharing them with anybody might be a way of protecting your valuable thoughts. However, it also hurts your ideas and creativity, as it is locked away as well.
Share Your Ideas
Share your ideas with others. Share them with creative people and sometimes, share them with "normal" people. This can have the advantage that you can add something to your idea that got overlooked so far. Sharing creativity and ideas with others often results in the improvement of the idea, and a constant stream of new ideas and creativity.
Even when the people you share your idea with don't have anything to add, you'll rethink your idea over and over again, and maybe, you'll be able to perfect it. In any case, this way of thinking will help you develop new creativity in the long run.
6 - The Apathy
Many people work in jobs and branches that they don't care about. Then, the job is only the tool for the purpose of earning money to pay the bills. This makes it twice as hard to be creative. It is much easier to find a gift for a loved person than for someone you don't care about.
Love What You Do
When you're interested in something, you'll always put in all of your passion. You'll always try to be the best you can be. You'll feel happy, and spend more time searching for the solutions to the challenges that you're faced with. However, this also works in the opposite direction. If you don't care for something and don't feel like doing it, you won't feel motivated, and you won't really be creative either.
Thus: love your job! Love what you do. If you don't, think about what you can change to make you love it. There are always more solutions than you think. For example, you could start a competition with yourself. Get your work done faster and faster. Just act like you love it. This alone can often work wonders, and helps me a lot in some situations. Do it, and you'll feel your creativity flowing.
7 - Your Ego
The ego is a nice thing. Everyone should have a strong one. Too much of it isn't really helpful either, tough. Of course, it's good for you when you are an amazing person. But be careful not to become cocky. Being cocky also means that you'll stop thinking about how to do things differently, and how to improve them.
Don't become cocky
High spirits are a mental limitation as well. If you consider all your ideas to be perfect, you don't leave yourself any room for improvement. On top of that, you lose the opportunity to gain new abilities and develop new ideas. This will make your creativity stagnate, without you feeling it, and without you being able to change it. Better stay modest, and tell yourself that you're never as good as you could be. This way of thinking will give your creativity a significant boost. Always try to improve.
This way of thinking and working will quickly be noticed by people that are actually better than you are at the moment. Maybe they'll become your mentor, from who you can learn a lot. Never be 100 percent satisfied with yourself, always seek to improve. Then, you'll reach areas that you didn't think you could reach before.
8 - The Lack of Focus
Losing the focus on what you want to achieve makes being creative very difficult. If you don't know where you want to go, you won't get there. Having no limits, no rules, and no goals might sound like total freedom. But your mind can't work properly without explicit restrictions.
Stay on Track and Don't Lose Focus
Set clear goals for your project. Setting deadlines is a warranty for the work you need to get done. A well-calculated pressure is the basis for well-done work. Break your project into smaller parts, set daily goals and deadlines. Make sure that they're realistic, however, as wanting to do too much in too little time would be harmful.
Every project should be well planned from the start. A final goal should be set, possible goals for each day are very helpful. Realistic scheduling is optimal not to lose focus. If you do it this way, there's close to no way you'll lose your focus.
Have you ever thought about long-term goal setting? Where do you see yourself in a year, where do you want to be in ten years? The majority of people doesn't set goals at all. That's why it's not surprising that they don't reach what they're dreaming of. By the way: most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years. My advice: set goals for yourself.
9 - The Lack of Experience
If you let too much time go by without being creative, it will be difficult for your mind to come up with creativity all of a sudden. You won't get going as easily. If you can't become creative during your job or in your private life, make it possible.
Train Your Creative Muscle
Creativity can be compared to a muscle. If you stop working out, your body will go limp, and your muscles recede. The same thing applies to your creativity. Thus, make room for half an hour every day, and try to get new ideas. Train your creative muscle, exercise daily. The more often you do that, the more ideas you'll get, and the faster they'll come to you.
Go through the world with open eyes. Look around you. Every time you or someone else has a problem, you could try and solve it. You could take an analytic or humorous approach. Either way, it's creative thinking that trains your "creative muscle". Creativity can not be used up. The more you use, the more you'll receive.
10 - Negative People
Some people don't really help your creativity. That does not mean they are bad people. But if they aren't creative, they don't think the way you do. Maybe they will only see the negative sides of an idea and make no bones about it. They don't understand your ideas, and perhaps, they are jealous of your creativity.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Don't spend too much time with people that talk down on your ideas. Most likely, they don't do it on purpose; maybe they even want to bring you "back on track". Nonetheless, these people harm you if you spend too much time with them, as, without noticing, you'll adapt their point of view, and your creativity will die at the same time.
Avoid negativity, and only surround yourself with positive people. You can share ideas with them, and, in return, receive valuable input. This pushes your creative side. They'll help you reach your goals. You should always accept constructive criticism, as it helps your creativity, and shows you what you haven't considered yet, and what you might've looked at from the wrong perspective until then.
There are various ways to fight creative paralysis and to get more output out of yourself. However, you should always keep the ten factors mentioned above in mind. Don't lose your focus, don't think small, and be brave. Remember: In the end, all will be good. If it's not good yet, it's not the end ;-)
The final point regarding positivity is absolutely true. We always try to create a fun environment to work in and it really does bring out the best of anyone who happens to be creative.
All great tips. I think the last one was a game changer for me. Choosing to be around encouraging people who offered constructive criticism really changed things for me.