Many creatives believe that their creative juices lull back and forth, in and out of existence, like waves on a shore. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Contrary to popular belief, according to a study by the Creativity Research Journal, creativity can become a habit. Based on their research, anyone can cultivate creativity my maximizing their routine for idea capture, embracing challenging tasks, broadening their knowledge base, and surrounding themselves with interesting things and people.
The problem isn’t necessarily that we struggle being creative. Usually, what people mean is that they have trouble maintaining their creativity. This is because we often do things that make creative expression difficult or impossible. Creativity is not merely an inborn talent. We often block our creative pathways by adopting bad habits.
Are you a creative person? Here’s how to make sure you stay that way!
6 Dangerous Habits that Kill Creativity
Comparing yourself to others.
Taking criticism personally.
Creatives are famous for being sensitive, people-pleasers. But, even you don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, it can be challenging not to be rattled by every proffer of “constructive criticism.” Repeat after me. IT’S NOT PERSONAL. I know it seems like it is. I know it feels like it is, but it’s not. The truth is, feedback often says more about the one giving it than the one receiving it.
Embrace the opportunity to evolve personally and professionally. That way, even if the person means it as an affront, you still come out wiser, stronger, and more resilient. If there is anything to learn from what is being said, use the feedback to your advantage. If there isn’t, don’t give the words a second thought!
Sometimes, doubt can be a positive thing. It can force us to challenge the status quo, question our current processes, or inspire unique, better solutions. But, like most things, too much leads to creative paralysis and can cause imposter syndrome, where we use it as a weapon against ourselves, causing us to hold ourselves to higher, more impossible standards. To maintain a healthy level of self-doubt, it is important to surround yourself with a support system to keep you grounded and remind you of how far you’ve come. So often, we forget our own strengths and successes until someone else brings them back into our remembrance.
Ruling out ideas (or people) too quickly.
Thoughtfully consider all possibilities. Some of the greatest acts of kindness I experienced came from the unlikeliest of sources. Don’t discount someone (or one of their ideas) simply because they don’t share the same pedigree as you. My best ideas are often the simplest. My favorite people are usually the ones who challenge me the most. You don’t have to agree 100% of the time to gain value from them. Just because part of an idea doesn’t work doesn’t that none of it will!
Perfection is an illusion we create to maintain control. It creates anxiety and muffles creativity. How can you create something if you can’t stop thinking about attaining perfection? Perfectionism has lead to more blank pages, empty canvases, and nonexistent ventures than any of us can count! None of us can create a masterpiece if we constantly have unreasonable and unattainable expectations of ourselves. So, stop measuring yourself against the imaginary yardstick of perfection. Take imperfect action. Set realistic goals. Do your best. Forget the rest!