8 Ways We Kill Our Creativity (Without Even Realizing It)

8 Ways We Kill Our Creativity (Without Even Realizing It)
Olu Eletu

1. Our focus and attention is taken up by social media

Just before I wrote this piece, I spent way to long listening to a Tim Ferris Podcast. As good as it was, it was really distracting. Listening to other people’s content can be just another way of putting off creating our own. It is just another way to “switch of”’ our brains.

If we want to make anything meaningful, satisfying, and innovative, we must switch from the consumer mindset to the producer mindset, quick smart. The problem with being so socially connected is that we live in other people’s worlds.

We browse Instagram stories, Facebook posts, photos, YouTube videos, and watch Netflix shows. All of this information our brains scan and eventually our brains fill up.

The power in transmuting rapid creativity is by taking from others people’s worlds and making sense of that information internally. We can then provide a new perspective, article, blog post, creative product, piece of music, or art form from that initial spark of inspiration.

Creatives are like food processing machines. We put something in and something completely different comes out.

I personally make sure the content I consume is specifically relevant to writing, blogging, business, marketing, and personal development. The things that will inspire and motivate me to achieve my goals.

2. Our jobs drain our mental energy

For many of us, our jobs drain valuable energy from our day. They keep us busy with tasks, goals, targets, meetings, planning, budgets, and coffee refills. Most menial jobs keep our minds buzzing with thoughts around tasks and to do lists. They keep our minds busy, busy, busy.

Some job roles allow for more creativity including, art director, sales agent, designer, digital media marketer, etc.

Even jobs that don’t take up a lot of mental energy may impede our creativity. Physical laboring jobs such as serving, bar tending, laboring, mechanic, electrician, and plumber drain our vitality. They are good for the freedom they allow, but we must be careful in not letting these jobs control our mental space.

The majority of traditional job roles today still have rigid structures, systems, rules, and red tape that stop us from contemplating or inventing new ways of doing things. Companies are set up to preserve production. Employees are left to implement these strategies. People make the wheels go round and therefore too many new ideas can sometimes stifle businesses productivity.

We must be careful to not get stuck in a jobs that trap us from unleashing the creativity inside of us. Creatives are a special breed of genius. Honor your creativity and watch it flourish.

3. We do not take inspired action

I am guilty of this. I have let countless business and artistic ideas come and go over the years. Salty tears I shed.

I have ignored previous inspiration from the universe and did not act in that moment. This made me feel “stuck” because I did not actively take the opportunity when it was presented to me.

You have to recognize inspiration for what it is and take charge when it presents itself. Some days we are “in the zone,” others we are not. We cannot let those days in the zone go to waste.

The best time to write for me is when I am on the tram to work. That 20 minutes with my headphones plugged in allows me to zone out and jot down any quick ideas I have for an article. The more I write on the tram, the greater my habit is solidified.

We choose never to start a business or artistic venture because we cannot see the finished product. Before I wrote this article, I did not know how it would turn out. I just chose to embrace the uncertainty, let it flow organically, and then edit it until I was happy.

4. We do not collaborate

We live in a culture where other brands can skyrocket our brands growth. We can infiltrate other markets by exposing our business to other audiences that other creatives have taken to the time to build and grow.

This is an ultimate hack. It give us authority and trust in a completely different playing field.

Think of your biggest idols in life, your motivators, sports starts, artists, and musicians. All of them actively collaborate with other creators to boost their brand.

Sometimes, we are so committed to the daily tasks of our business we forget about the bigger picture. Our own limitations can stop our business growth. Focus on the bigger picture and watch your brand grow.

5. We are afraid if it hasn’t been done before it’s impossible

Most people need to see the proof in the pudding before they even start something. They cannot simply go off a hunch, a feeling, an idea, or a whim!

I’m here to tell you that you should embrace the uncertainty. Find a market to serve and solve their problems.

In the Harvard Business Review, I read that “Customers attach value to a product in proportion to its perceived ability to help solve their problems or meet their needs. All else is derivative.”

If we focus our attention on our potential customers, we can push through our fears and ultimately dissolve our egos. We must streamline our focus to provide value for our customers and audience.

Your purpose, mission and core values determines your why. Come back to it when you are stuck and just remember Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

6. We don’t recognize the creative potential within us

If we can’t see the value of creativity in our work, social, or personal life, we might never ever flex our creative muscles. If the end result becomes more fulfilling, then the process we may as well give up now.

I believe we were all born with innate talents and creative inclinations, yet most of us allow our creative side to die and be buried six feet under. We must seek to avoid complacency and mindless repetition from our work at all costs.

Years of school conditioning has programmed our subconscious to think in a routine manner. We read, we write, we learn, we write. The routine of school has killed our imagination and dulled our ability to truly believe in ourselves.

7. Our environment is not supportive of creativity

Our immediate environment might be terrible in stimulating our creativity. Besides our work environment, our home environment might not support our creativity either. Colors, vision boards, quotes, and desktop screen savers will help spark your creativity. Keep it simple and don’t overdo it.

I used to have a huge wall poster wall full of skateboarding images I cut out from magazines. It was like a feature wall of radness. It was truly a work of art. Whenever I needed a boost of inspiration, I would run to my room to check out the wall.

It did become slightly overwhelming looking up at the posters at night before I went to bed, although I did used to have some crazy dreams!

Go into nature. There is no more freeing environment then nature. Nature is your best friend. It puts you back in touch with your core. Your humanity. Your breath. Your freedom. Walking, breathing, and thinking in nature is where I have most of my epiphany moments. Mostly to and from the coffee shop.

8. We let other people drain our energy

We must limit the amount of people we get take (and get) energy from. Even if we are extroverted creatives, conversations and debates can zap our energy and attention. This will lead to a reduction in creativity.

The more we get caught up in things that don’t matter to us, such as negative conversations or hearing how much someone hated when X said X to Y and blah blah blah, the less time we have to create.

We must make sure to not get sucked into others peoples crap and if we do we must figure out a way to deal with it in a way that doesn’t negatively impact upon our loving creative core. Be a good human, but also remember there is a time to create and a time to listen.

To maintain our mission on earth, we have to learn how to say NO to social events that don’t serve us. It is important we value our creative work enough to give it the time and attention it deserves.

The creative loner who blocks out the world around him and develops tunnel vision will have a much better chance at doing something great than someone who is complacent and using others company as a mask for their own unfulfilled core.

Creatives, artists, business owners, and anyone with a dream can understand how important intense focus is. By removing distractions, we can get more done and ultimately this will lead to more fulfilling and creative life. TC mark

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