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  • calebland

The Barriers Separating You and Creativity

I’m sure that at some point in your life, you have doubted your creativity skills. Maybe some kind of aptitude test on the internet or one in a professional setting has told you that you lack creativity.

I just can’t say that I can stand behind the idea that someone can genuinely have zero creativity in them. I think that the root of all reasons behind lack of creativity is that not enough people try.

However, I know that there are more barriers than that. Let’s take a look at each of them and how we can overcome them.

A sample group of CEOs were surveyed, and they said that the skill they most value in workers is creativity—their ability to problem solve and figure things out. I encourage you to read into the hyperlinked article, as it provides even more insight into the essentiality of creativity.

Trying to impress your boss? Trying to stand out amongst the crowd? Simply just wanting to create something for yourself to be proud of? Don’t worry, friend. You’ve come to the right place.

State of Mind

I am a graphic designer. I have completed various design projects throughout my undergraduate experience. Prior to learning graphic design, I had no artistic capabilities (or so I thought). I’m so bad at drawing and painting that you’d laugh if you saw my drawing of even a stick figure.

Maybe I don’t have a steady hand, and maybe I don’t know all of the intricate concepts of art. However, what was holding me back from creativity was my state of mind.

Because I hadn’t had much luck with drawing and painting, I assumed that I just couldn’t create anything meaningful and well-designed.

Creativity requires positive thinking. If you tell yourself that you can’t, then you are likely to not even try. This applies not only to art, but to creative problem solving; coming up with campaign ideas for public relations; creating that one epic sales event at your retail store; etc.

If you read my blog about procrastination, you should know by now that I am a person all about the mindset, as how you perceive things to be greatly impacts how you perform in your daily life.

Be Bold

Over the past year, I have personally found that boldness is an essential virtue to have in society. As an introvert, I have found that virtue difficult to obtain. When it comes to being creative, you have to be willing to think outside the box and push your own limits to what you think you can do.

From Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, he says that to be creative and to solve problems creatively, it is “looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.”

A lot of what restricts us from making something is creative is the rules that are there that we think we must follow.

Below you’ll see a recent sticker design of mine. I had just received training in how to use Adobe Illustrator and decided to sit down for a few hours and sketch away. I had no idea what I wanted to design, but I just opened my mind and allowed myself to accept any reasonable design idea that popped in my head.

Another crucial aspect to getting yourself to formulate a creative idea is to allow yourself time. You can’t easily problem solve or create a masterpiece by sitting there for a minute and giving up. Open your mind, let your creative juices flow, and see what you can create.

I decided to “be bold” and eliminate my doubts about artistic capabilities and just allowed my creative juices to do the work.

Your ideas don’t have to be practical in their drafting phase

Let’s say you’re working for a retail store in which you are trying to come up with a marketing strategy to get more sales. Sometimes, we cannot simply come up with the best ideas by ourselves, I will admit.

So, in a team setting, you are all trying to formulate some sort of sales event in which you want to draw in more customers. Start spewing ideas. The first part of being truly creative is brainstorming. Pose ideas to your coworkers, even if they seem crazy. Encourage others to do this as well. View your ideas and others’ nonjudgmentally and see what you can come up with.

From those ideas, you and your team can chisel away at the less practical parts and shape it to be a creative idea that is not only practical but astounding.

You see, the barriers here to creative thinking are, as I had mentioned before, the rules that we think are in place.

We follow rules based on common sense. Time passes, and sometimes, these things change. The original reasons for the previously written rules may no longer exist, but because the rules are still in place, we continue to follow them.

Now, of course, I’m not encouraging you to be foolish. Evaluate the idea, art, technique, paper, etc. that you just formulated and see if it makes sense. Do not be discouraged if it does not turn out the way you want.

In short, don’t think you are bound by rules that you only think are in place. There is more than one solution most of the time.

Don’t let “that’s not my area” keep you from trying something new. My whole life I told myself that creating art was not my area, but once I got into graphic design, I discovered that if I try, I am a lot better at it than I thought.

If you want to try and stand out amongst others with creative ideas but are doubting yourself, just try. Open your mind and convince yourself that you can do it. It is important that in discovering your creativity, you do get feedback from others. When you get a second opinion, you can further strengthen your ideas and create things that will attract/satisfy a larger audience.

Good luck out there!


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