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10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity

10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity
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If you’re wanting to live a creative life but feel something is holding you back, you’re probably right. And guess what? It’s most likely you. That’s right, for all the obstacles you feel are in your way and block your creativity, it’s often the things you say to yourself that have the biggest impact and keep you stuck.

Today I’d like to share with you 10 things you probably say to yourself that block your creativity.

1. I’m Not an Expert in My Creative Field, So I Don’t Feel Ready to Put Myself out There.

You don’t need to be an expert to put yourself out there. All you need is a unique point of view, and you already have that; we all do. Your creative work is special and ready to share with the world, so stop holding back. You’re already expert enough.

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2. I Don’t Believe in Myself as a Creative Person.

The most powerful thing you can do for your creativity is to believe. When you don’t believe in what you’re doing it shows, and you sabotage your own work in the process. If you want others to believe in your creative work, you need to believe first.

3. I Feel Like It’s Not the Right Time Yet, But I’m Not Sure When it Will Be.

There’s never a perfect time, and if you wait for one you might be waiting your entire life. You can never know for sure when the best time will be, but the truth is the sooner you put yourself out there and start sharing your creativity, the quicker you’ll learn what you need to know to live your ideal creative life.

4. I’m Afraid Things Won’t Work Out.

You can never know if things will work out or not. But you need to trust yourself and believe that what you’re doing is worthwhile enough that whether you succeed or fail, it will be an experience well spent. Life is all about pursuing great experiences, and your creativity is something worth pursuing regardless of the eventual outcome.

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5. I Think About My Past Failures and They Rule My Thoughts.

Constantly rehashing past failures is a sure way to get yourself down. If you’re stuck in the past, it can be very difficult to move forward. Let your past failures be in the past. They taught you valuable lessons that you’ve learnt from. But they don’t need to live in your now.

6. I Don’t Think I’m As Talented As Other People.

Comparing yourself is dangerous because when you compare you are not comparing like for like. You’re comparing someone else’s highlight reel (the very best presentation of their work) to your work in its entirety, warts and all! What looks average to you will often look amazing to others from the outside; it all depends on your perspective.

7. I Am Scared My Friends and Family Will Judge Me and My Work.

Our friends and family usually mean well, but sometimes their judgement can feel harsh. Whether it’s disapproval of your creative life choices, a perfectionist parent who picks at every imperfection, or a friend who thinks they know it all, comments from friends and family can really get you down. Often one bad comment can scar us for years, but it’s important to remember that most people will be encouraging and accepting of your creative work. As for the rest? Ignore them. They likely have their own issues at play.

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8. I Feel Like I Will Make Mistakes If I Start Now.

We all make mistakes. And no matter how long you spend preparing yourself to start, mistakes will still be made. Mistakes are an inevitable part of the learning process. Go easy on yourself, and decide that it is ok to make a mistake.

9. I Feel Guilty When I Do Creative Work Because It’s Not Productive.

If your creativity isn’t making you money and something else is, it’s easy to feel guilt over doing your creative work because it isn’t productive enough. But you know what’s more important than productivity? Your happiness. Don’t let the pursuit of productivity rule your life. Start living and doing what you love because that’s what really matters.

10. I Need to Know All the Answers Now Before I Start.

You can never know all the answers before you start. No matter how much research and preparation you do, things will pop up that you never could have imagined. When you search for answers before you start, you are really just estimating what you need to know. To get most of the answers, you need to just dive in and start. There’s no other way to find them.

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Can you relate to any of all of these? Do you think saying some of these things to yourself might block your creativity and keep you stuck? Share your experiences of things that block your creativity in the comments below.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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