Unlock Your Grey Cells: Nip these Obstacles that Thwart Creative Thinking in the Bud

Creative Thinking

Creativity, Creativity, Creative thinking. We hear it so many times that we start to question what the word actually entails. Here is Steve Jobs’ two cents on creativity, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they did not really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

For folks like me who work in the creative industry, we have to keep coming up with new and innovative ideas, or risk a total burnout. Thinking out-of-the-box to be more creative so our creations can stand out is not always a bed of roses. If you are also going through a lean patch when it comes to creativity and want to break the shackles, we know exactly how to get your creative juices flowing resplendently again. In this article, we look at some of the biggest obstacles that you must overcome to keep your creativity pulsing.

1. No Vision or Direction

The first snag that can put dampers on your creative thinking is a lack of vision and clear direction. When you do not move with an unambiguous vision and are unaware of which direction to move in, you will never reach your desired destination. How can you set clear goals and objectives to achieve when you are not sure about the vision? You cannot. In order to get out of the mental block, you need to have a clear vision, direction, goal and a comprehensive action plan.

Successful entrepreneurs have no doubts about any of these, which is why they are successful in the first place. They clearly know what they want to achieve and how they are going to get there. Just as the clouds give way to let the sun shine, clarity of vision and goals helps you come up with new and innovative ideas and allows you to be your more creative self.

2. Following a Reactive Approach

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct it promptly, and learn from it.”—Stephen Covey

If your brain isn’t exercised enough, it will start to lose its spark. To keep your creative juices flowing, you should keep exposing yourself to the most up-to-the-minute information and new notions and innovations to keep your mind rejuvenated. If that is not the case, it will be harder for your brain to come up with solutions to problems, since all the energy and vitality that your brain needs to be creative will be chucked out the window. As a person working in the creative sector, you really cannot afford that.

Unfortunately, when you take a reactive approach to things, your thinking becomes more passive and automatic. This in turn clouds your thinking pattern. This usually happens when you are caught up in the same routine for too long. To break free, you will have to swap your reactive approach with a more proactive one and bid adieu to monotony. Keep challenging your mind to think and solve complex problems. This will save you from being too complacent with your intellect, which is a huge creativity killer.

3. Fear of Failure

If Thomas Edison feared failure, we would still be living out our days with the flickering glow of candles and lanterns, since he succeeded in innovating a light bulb after 10,000 failed attempts. Thomas Edison shared his experience by saying, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”. Instead of running away from failure, you should consider it as an opportunity to learn and improve. When you fear failure, you cannot take risks and become conservative with your thinking.

4. Criticism and Rejection

Despite how much faith we put in our abilities and how confident we are at what we do, we all harbor an apprehension of criticism and rejection. This is why we are unable to challenge the status quo and cannot see beyond our limited scope. In fact, this dread of criticism and rejection limits us to ordinariness and we never make good on our aspirations. As a result, we all settle for far less than we are capable of achieving. Be it Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Ma or any other successful entrepreneur, they have all been in the line of fire at sometime in their life, but persevered in the face of what they believed in, which is why they have been able to make history.

5. Being Rational Without Improving

Most of us see rational as a good thing because we are coherent creatures. We heavily rely on our brains to elucidate on our surroundings and make sense of things. More importantly, when you rationalize, you tend to come up with a reason or at least try to find one to justify your actions.  On a creative thinking front, that is not a good thing, because it shuts the doors on future improvements. When you rationalize on every decision that you make, you will not be as critical as you should be to make improvements.

6. Resistance to Change

The only thing that is constant is change”–Heraclitus

Do you have a strong desire to be consistent? You stay true to cultural dogmas, doing what has always been done, content not to shatter the glass ceiling? This takes you into a frame of mind where you will think twice about doing or saying something out of the blue; something unique, something creative. When you are rigid and show resistance to change, your creative thinking freezes too. Consequently, you are never able to utilize your full brain capacity and your creativity nose dives due to this.

Which obstacles thwart you from being creative and how do you overcome them? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.