We all know that familiar feeling of angst that overtakes us when we experience a roadblock to our creative flow. There’s a deadline looming, and your mind has gone completely blank. Nothing, nada. Absolutely, zippo!! It’s like your brain has frozen. Luckily there is some recent research that identifies some of the most common roadblocks to creativity, and how to move past them.
Common Roadblocks to Creativity and How to Overcome Them:
- Fear of failure:
Believe it or not, fear of failure is one of the most common causes of creativity block. Most people are afraid of failing because they see it as a one-way street to disaster, rejection, and a mark on their reputation forever. Fear of failure, many times, is a symptom of perfectionism. The idea that nothing you can do will ever be good enough, and furthermore that this failure defines your identity.
Fear of failure means you’re less likely to take risks, and that you put off even starting. These two things alone can kill creativity.
To overcome this try to redefine creativity as a series of experiments, with failure as a kind of course-correction and an inevitable part of the process. Focus on the benefits of the journey while releasing the outcome.
2. The time myth:
The time myth centers around the fear that there will never be enough time to accomplish your creative task. This ticking clock phobia is another creativity killer. If you’re like most people, your schedule is probably crammed full, and you might feel like you’ll never catch up. As your to-do list keeps growing, you won’t be able to relax in the creative process and let the ideas flow.
A surprising way to find more time is to earmark some chillout time in your daily planner. Prioritize some downtime to listen to music, meditate, doodle, or just sit quietly. You’ll feel much less stressed and open to the creative flow.
3. The staring at the blank screen syndrome:
Sitting at your desk, staring at the computer or the blank page is not a good way to get creative juices flowing. If you’ve been trying to write or problem-solve and it’s just not happening, one of the best things you can do is go for a walk or make a coffee. Both of these are good for the brain.
The idea is to get out of the environment that’s keeping you stuck, get moving, and your mental gears can disengage and relax enough to be ready when inspiration strikes.
4. The negativity pit:
Negative thinking can stop creativity in its tracks. If you’re sitting there frowning, and thinking all the reasons why you can’t do it, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that you won’t be able to do it.
Pessimism and negative self-talk set up a vicious cycle of gloom and low energy. Reject that self-defeating attitude and give yourself a pep talk. Speak life to yourself! Reframe your task and just promise yourself you’ll write down whatever comes into your head, just to get the process started. Remember, first drafts are invariably not your best product, because that’s what a first draft is for! You’ve done good work before, you’ll do it again.
5. Pushing too hard:
A looming deadline can be enough to cause you to have a panic attack. But true creativity can’t always be rushed. The harder you push, the blanker the page or the canvas. Don’t be tempted to force it, chances are you may be overwhelmed with a bunch of competing thoughts and projects that need to get done. Do yourself a solid and take a break. As counterintuitive as this may seem, try taking a power nap. The restorative benefits of napping are well documented. Naps can improve mental alertness, energy levels, cognitive performance, and physical stamina.
Don’t allow mental roadblocks to stifle your creativity. When resistance to moving forward arises, take a minute to think about what’s really going on. Become aware of the limiting beliefs that are hindering your progress and address them one by one. Recognize your unique roadblocks to creativity and be determined to push through them.
Now, go forward and create something amazing!
Be well + prosper,