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10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity

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10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity

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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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