7 Bad Habits That Kill Creativity
Have you ever wondered why some people are more creative than others? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because they’re innately more creative or they’re born with some special “creativity gene.” The truth is much less mystical than that: They work harder. Which means that you could also be just as creative as the most creative person you know.
But not working hard enough is just one creativity killer. Check out these seven other creativity killing habits that are holding you back — and actionable steps you can take to overcome them.
1. Following the path of least resistance
Creativity means coming up with something innovative or, at the very least interesting, right? Well, if you , that means you’re doing things that you’re comfortable with. And if you’re comfortable, that means you’ve already done them. And if you’ve already done them, they’re not innovative. See where I’m going here?
So identify the path of least resistance and consciously turn away from it. Pick the harder road — that’s the creative one.
2. Putting too much trust in experts
Now, I recognize the irony of telling you in a piece that’s obviously advice from an expert, but bear with me here for a minute. It’s a good idea to listen to advice — human beings learn well from those who came before us. But it’s also important to take that advice and synthesize it to make it your own. Otherwise, you’re just following in the footsteps of those came before you — and there’s nothing creative about that.
3. Falling victim to Imposter Syndrome
The self doubt of a novice is rough — and we’ve all been there. When we’re first starting out, it’s easy to feel like nothing we do could possibly be right because we don’t know what we’re doing. Imposter Syndrome causes us to put up a million hurdles before we actually create: “I have to take this class first” or “I’m not qualified” or “I really don’t know anything about that medium.”
Those thoughts and restrictions are just your brain protecting you from fear and failure — which is something brains are really good at. However, rather than letting Imposter Syndrome keep you from achieving your creative goals, recognize it, own it, and push through. That’s where true creative work lies.
4. Relying too much on logic
Logic is great because it keeps our minds on track. It helps get through our day-to-day — but it sucks for creativity. In order to fully engage your creativity, you have to be willing to step outside the strictures of logical thinking. What would happen if you went through Door B instead of Door A? Let your mind wander into the fantastical instead of getting caught in the logic weeds.
5. Going with the first solution
Maybe you’ve come across an idea that’s perfect for the problem you’re trying to solve. Great! Now go come up with ten more. Just because the first solution feels perfect, does not mean that it actually is perfect. Give your mind some room to stretch and move beyond that first solution. You might find that the third or fourth is even better.
6. Being scared of failure
If you’re so scared of failure that you never take risks and it’s impossible to be creative without risk. You’ll never push yourself past your pre-existing limits and you’ll end up right where you currently are. If that’s fine with you, cool. But if you want to be creative? If you want to live creatively? You have to be willing and ready to fail and then learn from that failure in order to move forward.
7. Getting lost in the weeds
Research is important and good, for most things, but too much research will overwhelm your brain and kill your creativity. Definitely educate yourself, but be careful to take in just enough information for your brain to play with. You don’t need to know it all — you just need to know enough to take the next step. Set a limit on research and stick to it. Then, go do something else. Let your brain wander. That’s when the magic happens.