20 reasons why you’re not creative

The very word ‘creative’ is a tripwire to many people.  After all, unless you’re paid to produce a video or write a script, what use is creativity in the workplace?

In fact, it’s simply the ability to solve problems or be resourceful.  To quote Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things.”

Looking at it this way, it’s probably not hard to see why an IBM survey revealed that CEOs all over the world rated creativity as the top leadership skill.  That’s ‘the‘ top, not ‘one of the top’.

So what stops you from being creative?  In a workshop I ran on Creative Problem Solving, the group generated a whole list of blocks.

See if any of these strike a chord:

  1. You’re too tired or drained from the day that’s been or was.
  2. Identity  –  ‘I’m not a creative’.  Creativity is who you are, black and white.
  3. If you’re successful, people will want me to do this again.  You can’t guarantee achievement when pure chance is what helped me the first time.
  4. If you achieve your goal, then your profile’s up and so you’ll be easier to find and shoot down.
  5. What’s the point?  Nothing will come of your ideas anyway.
  6. You’ve got so many ideas,  you don’t know where to start.
  7. You can only generate ideas with people you trust and the opportunity doesn’t happen very often.
  8. No-one will listen to you.
  9. You’ll be stigmatised/outcast/mocked/considered to be an upstart.
  10. You don’t have the money/time/equipment.
  11. You’ve failed too many times to believe you can be successful with your ideas.
  12. You can’t be creative until you’re financially secure.
  13. It’s not ‘important’ enough : it’s play you can only allow yourself to do in the shadows.
  14. It’s too much effort to put an idea into reality
  15. By concentrating on that, you’ll neglect things that really matter.
  16. Being creative means you don’t want a proper job and can’t hold one down.
  17. Creativity is frowned upon in your culture: it’s a sign of weakness.
  18. Your parents/teachers told you that you weren’t creative and it still sticks.
  19. Creativity makes you feel so happy: you haven’t deserved it.
  20. Creativity?  What’s that?

Addressing blocks in being creative – as well as revealing what creativity actually looks like in practice – is vital to understanding how to do it.

Let me know of any specific block that comes to mind in the comments below.

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