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Teach Yourself Creativity: Are You Causing Your Creative Block?

Can you teach yourself creativity?  If you've ever told yourself "I'm not creative" you likely caused your own creative block.  Learn steps to teach yourself creativity.

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Be more creative through challenging creative blocks

Creative Blocks: Your Thoughts Interfere with Creativity

Think of the last time you said  “I’m not creative.”

What do you remember about this?  What was going on around you?  What were you thinking about doing?

My guess is you were thinking of trying something new and talked yourself out of it by saying “I’m not creative.”

I see this all the time on Facebook groups dedicated to bullet journaling.  People are scared to start using a bullet journal because they are afraid they won’t be able to make it pretty.  Some people even buy notebooks and never write in them because they are so fearful of putting a mark on the page and messing up.

Does this mean they are not creative?  Or does it mean something else?

What Does Creativity Mean To You?

Does Creativity Mean Unique?

 

Let’s be smarty-pants for a moment and look at the definition of creativity.  

The definition that comes up on Google for creativity is:  “relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m overwhelmed.  While I am attracted to the imagination part, original ideas and artistic work feel a little bit intimidating.  They make me want to say “I’m not creative.”

What the heck does “relating to original ideas” mean?  Does this mean that you have to come up with something completely new and innovative that no one else has thought of before?

Well, that’s not possible.  There are billions of people out there.  All of those billion people are always thinking of something.   It is unlikely that you will think of something completely original.

So, let’s say you think of something new (to you) but someone else already thought of it.  Does this mean you weren’t creative?  It’s not like you copied them.  Isn’t coming up with the ideas creative even if someone else already did?  Couldn’t that mean we were both creative, the other person was just first?

Does Creativity Require You To Be Artistic?

Although art is creativity, not all creativity is art (at least not in the general sense).  Some examples of creativity that wouldn’t necessarily be art:

  • problem solving
  • figuring out how to fix things
  • developing a computer program

The Problem With Believing Old Definitions

If you think you have to come up with something completely original or that you have to create art in order to be creative when these are not your natural gifts, what happens?

You tell yourself you’re not creative, that you aren’t good at it.

What happens when we tell ourselves we are not good at something or that we can’t do something?  Frankly, we just don’t do it.

When we say we aren’t good at something such as “I’m not creative,” we put a wall up in front of that thing.  We don’t take the time to go do it.  It is a self fulfilling prophecy because then of course then it’s true we’re not good at it because we don’t do it.

Here’s the thing, even if we do start trying to do the thing we fear we will suck at, we might quit easily because it is hard.  Seth Godin said it best on this podcast when he said people feel incompetent while learning something new until they are competent at it.

Isn’t that true?  Do you remember learning to drive?  You had to pay attention!  It was hard.  I almost went in a ditch a few times before I learned that you have to turn the steering wheel back after turning haha.

When you feel incompetent, you don’t want to do it.  Feeling incompetent reinforces your belief that you aren’t good at something.  Well, because you actually aren’t good at it until you’re good at it.  

Have you ever started something but then gave up as soon as you started questioning your ability.  You likely didn’t even give yourself a chance!

Alternative Definition: What is Creativity?

If you think you have to come up with something completely original or that you have to create art in order to be creative when these are not your natural gifts, what happens?

You tell yourself you’re not creative, that you aren’t good at it.

What happens when we tell ourselves we are not good at something or that we can’t do something?  Frankly, we just don’t do it.

When we say we aren’t good at something such as “I’m not creative,” we put a wall up in front of that thing.  We don’t take the time to go do it.  It is a self fulfilling prophecy because then of course then it’s true we’re not good at it because we don’t do it.

Here’s the thing, even if we do start trying to do the thing we fear we will suck at, we might quit easily because it is hard.  Seth Godin said it best on this podcast when he said people feel incompetent while learning something new until they are competent at it.

Isn’t that true?  Do you remember learning to drive?  You had to pay attention!  It was hard.  I almost went in a ditch a few times before I learned that you have to turn the steering wheel back after turning haha.

When you feel incompetent, you don’t want to do it.  Feeling incompetent reinforces your belief that you aren’t good at something.  Well, because you actually aren’t good at it until you’re good at it.  

Have you ever started something but then gave up as soon as you started questioning your ability.  You likely didn’t even give yourself a chance!

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Perspective

The conventional definition seems to imply either you are or you are not creative.  You either have come up with things no one else has ever come up with or you haven’t.

Instead, it seems creativity comes from practice, from allowing yourself to play around with things, to have ideas without beating yourself up.

There is also something that is missed that is right in front of you and that is your unique perspective. 

How many people do you see doing the same things…but somehow they’re different?  Many things are learned by copying what others have done before.  You put your own spin on it.  

But before you do that, you have to change your thinking about creativity.  You have to change your perspective.  The truth is whatever story you tell yourself is the one you will live.  If you believe “I’m not creative,” then you’re right.  Because you won’t be.  

But if you change your thinking and look at things a little differently, you might notice that you actually are creative.  You’ve been holding yourself back with the belief that you’re not. 

But you just didn’t understand…

Can You Learn Creativity?

If you consider that you are already a creative person, you have to think of this a little differently.  Instead of saying can you learn creativity, it is can you be more creative?  Can you be open to new experiences?

Creativity comes from experiencing things, doing the “work” (or play) of creativity.

When you do new things, it opens your mind up to think about things differently.  Be open to new experiences.

Consider times you may have been creative without knowing that you were experiencing creativity!  The following must use the creative process:

  • Solving problems (coming up with solutions and how to do things)
  • Relating to people through story (“That reminds me of a time when…”)
  • Being empathic.  Putting yourself in another person’s shoes takes creativity because you have to put yourself in what you imagine their life to be
  • Making connections between things.  Seeing the connections between ideas.
  • Seeing animals in the clouds
  • Figuring out a way to get someone else to do something 😉

If you can do that stuff, I think you can also explore more creative pursuits.

Challenge Yourself To Boost Your Creativity

It is time for you to stop saying “I’m not creative” and do a little creative booster challenge.

Try new things.  

Be aware of when you start telling yourself that you are not creative or that you can’t do something.  Be aware of when you feel less confident and see that as an opportunity to learn something new!

Notice how your thinking impacts you and keeps you stuck in a box and challenge that thinking. 

Instead of saying “I’m not creative”  think of yourself  as a “creative sprout.”  When you find yourself saying “I can’t,” commit to stopping yourself and doing it anyway.  I created a cheat sheet to help you to challenge limiting beliefs.  You can sign up to receive it below

Want To Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs?

Download the FREE worksheet here

When you have thoughts of not being good enough, pause and allow yourself to be a learner rather than a perfectionist.  You can grow in your creativity, it just takes a change in perspective to allow yourself to change.  

2 thoughts on “Teach Yourself Creativity: Are You Causing Your Creative Block?”

  1. This is incredibly uplifting! I always tend to say things like “I’m not creative” and “I can’t do x,y, and z”. You’re so right — when we say these comments, we stop ourselves, which then reinforces the idea. I will start thinking positively about my creativity and abilities! On top of the positive scribes, I think I will also start brainstorming on paper like in the good old days. Hopefully, that’ll help spark some ideas!

    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
    Nicole | Bad with Directions

  2. Hi Nicole! I’m glad you found it helpful. I have always done the same thing to myself but decided to stop and just do what I want to. Have you seen bullet journals? This is what got me going with creativity. I will be adding more about that in the near future. I love the name of your blog!

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