20 Deadly Enemies Of Creativity

1. The fear of not being good enough to share your ideas

Past failures, rejections, and looking at other people’s highlight reels can make you feel like you’re unworthy of sharing your ideas and this inhibits you from unleashing your creative energy in a way that propels you forward. However, you need to remember that this is a result of being overly attached to your own work and your own image. You need to let go of the expectations of worthiness and simply allow yourself to create, regardless of how many times you’ve fallen. The number of times you’ve succeeded without failing has no correlation with how worthy you are as a creative.

2. Perfectionism

Perfectionism causes you to freeze up and not even attempt to put yourself out there because creating something perfect is a downright impossible standard to meet. There is no such thing as a perfect work because all creative works that have ever been made are reflective of imperfect people who are all flawed, scarred, yet beautiful in their own ways.

3. Procrastination because “it’s not the right time”

How many times have you put off a creative work because you’ve felt like you weren’t ready or you weren’t inspired enough? “It’s not the right time” is only a petty excuse that’s rooted in the fear of not being good enough to start as you are, at this moment. You must understand that creating now is better than putting it off or sitting around and waiting for the ideal conditions of some distant future (which definitely will never come true).

4. High expectations

While it is good to strive to be better than you were before, it’s detrimental to your creativity if you have expectations that are so high that you can’t possibly meet them within reasonable time constraints. They will only paralyze you and make you unable to start.

5. No expectations

Having no expectations for yourself at all may sound like an act of radical authenticity, but you do need to realize that in order for your work to be seen and shared, you need to have some level of standards governing how you present yourself, how well people can relate to it, and the quality of your work. If you have no expectations, it’s impossible to grow, receive constructive criticism, and benefit other people. Even if you don’t plan on sharing any of your creative pieces to other people, it’s still critical to push yourself as an artist so you can reach a level of mastery and not remain stagnant as an amateur.

6. Too much self-doubt

It’s good to have a little bit of self-doubt because it’s a sign that you’re aware of your own limitations and you understand that you have much to improve on. However, too much of it can block your creative flow because you’ll be so caught up with judging yourself harshly before you even begin.

7. Feeling numb

It’s no secret that all creative works are reflective of the creator’s emotions and the ones that resonate the most do not shy away from revealing the intensity of a wide range of emotions. Emotions fuel creativity, but if you suppress how you’re feeling, you end up suppressing your creative energy. Numbness is a sign that you’re detached from yourself and in order to be creative, you must embrace yourself as you are, no matter where you are on the emotional spectrum. You can create from pain, but you can’t pull anything out from an emotional void.

8. Incessant ruminating over the past

It is healthy to look back and think about how you’ve grown and to reflect on what you’ve learned so you can do better. Past memories can be sources of inspiration by helping you come up with ideas for stories you want to share, but ruminating too much will stop up your creativity because it makes you feel like you’re not good enough to move forward or build yourself up.

9. The idea that everything has been done before and you have nothing more to add

You probably have felt compelled to share some insights about life only to find that it’s been shared many times before by people more talented and experienced than you. However, you must remember that you’re a unique individual with experiences that are not exactly the same as someone else’s, and you’re capable of creating work from your own perspective. You definitely have something to contribute, and while a lot of topics have been covered since the dawn of time, you still can present them in a way that’s entirely yours.

10. Extreme poverty

Extreme poverty is not conducive to creativity. Although we’ve heard plenty of “rags-to-riches” stories in the media, they are rare exceptions, not norms. Doing physically demanding and back-breaking work, struggling to pay bills on time, taking care of a family under extreme financial hardship, suffering from debilitating illnesses due to lack of quality medical care, and having to work overtime without pay are all serious struggles that can hinder creativity because finding the time and energy to create is considered a luxury for people who are barely getting by.

11. Being overprivileged

On the flip side, being overprivileged can also hinder creativity. Compelling stories and vulnerable expressions were all built from adversity and some form of struggle. Imagine being handed everything you’ve ever wanted, being shielded from all forms of suffering, never feeling broken, and never going through life’s challenges that force you to grow, adapt, and evolve in order to better yourself and become more resourceful. Would you care to create at all if the life of your wildest dreams was handed to you, in excess? Definitely not.

12. Being around abusive and toxic people

You can certainly create relatable content about toxic people and help others who are hurting, but if you’re constantly feeling unsafe and traumatized in your daily life, it’s very difficult to create and being in a demoralizing situation can make you doubt your potential, so much that you give up on yourself before you even try.

13. Online distractions

While other people’s social media feeds, videos, and posts can be sources of inspiration, it’s important to be mindful of how much time you’re spending watching other people live their best lives while neglecting your own potential. In order to create something that’s important to you, you need to shut off the world around you for a while and focus on yourself.

14. Worrying too much about falling behind

“Falling behind” is merely an illusion that holds you back from focusing on your own work. You may not be able to create a masterpiece or get accolades for your work at a young age and that’s okay. Beating yourself up for not starting something ten years ago isn’t going to motivate you to create truly impactful work, it’ll only make you even more afraid to start.

15. The desire to prove other people wrong

Wholesome creative expression is rooted in gratitude and the desire to give back to the world. If you attempt to create only out of spite for those who have wounded your ego, you’ll never have a healthy relationship with yourself or others, and this will undoubtedly impede your creative energy and corrode your own work.

16. Expecting yourself to have a breakthrough

If you’ve been putting off your passion projects for a long time, expecting yourself to change and become a highly productive creative the next day will only paralyze you because you’re expecting too much from yourself. Creating things take time and doing a little every day will get you much further than demanding yourself to do everything at once but not doing it at all.

17. Extremely rigid structure

Although having a set time for creative activities in your routine is important (otherwise, you’ll put it off), it’s crucial to give yourself some unstructured time and flexibility because too much structure is predictable and you’ll stagnate if you don’t explore anything outside of your normal routine. Some of life’s most intriguing and eye-opening lessons can’t fit into a rigid schedule and you’ll only close yourself off to possibilities if you don’t allow any room for spontaneous exploration whatsoever.

18. Thinking that you’re deserving of success because you’re underappreciated

Nobody is deserving of success until they’ve worked for it and earned it. Just because you’re underappreciated, it doesn’t mean that you’re inherently more deserving than other people. Trying to prove yourself out of spite for those that criticized you will only prevent you from creating because genuine self-expression only comes come from a grateful heart, not from an egotistical or resentful one. Creativity is about sharing things you’ve learned about life, which can potentially help others. It’s never about showing off how special you think you are (because you aren’t – you’re a human being like everyone else).

19. Trying too hard to be like someone else

You’ve probably been inspired by many creative people and watching them turn their life stories into beautiful art compels you to do the same, which is great and all, but if you’re constantly trying to sound like them, you’ll never develop your distinct voice or share valuable insights from your own perspective. You’ll find that the more you try to copy someone else’s style, you’ll not only come off as a wannabe, you’ll also constantly feel stuck and experience mental blocks due to the self-imposed pressure to sound like other people and the fear of expressing yourself in your own way.

20. Not taking care of your whole self

If you’re neglecting to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, you won’t create to the best of your ability. It’s essential to take breaks, recharge, and check in with yourself or else you’ll feel so burnt out that you won’t have the energy to create anything. When your body, mind, heart, and soul are nourished and cared for, your creativity will flourish in the most beautiful and breathtaking way imaginable. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Poet, sci-fi/fantasy writer, music lover, composer, & INFP.

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