Photo: Flickr – Norman Lear centre
Too many of us are self-doubters. And that’s keeping us from thinking creatively, according to a round-up of The Seven Deadly Sins that Prevent Creative Thinking in Psychology Today.
Sins one and two are “We do not believe we are creative” and “We believe the myths about creativity.” We believe that we are a product of our environment — and thus, if we come from a non-creative background we cannot be creative.
Plus, we put too much stock into the myths of creativity: that it’s an “aha!” moment, or that it comes naturally to some and is impossible for others. Unlike for other attributes, we rarely think of creativity as a skill developed over time, which of course it is.
The next five sins all have to do with failure in one way or another. For example: a fear of failure, and corresponding failures to act, produce ideas, or look at things in a different way.
A fear of failure can cripple any endeavour, but it especially hurts creativity. What comes next is obvious: if we don’t act, we can’t fail. We can appear intelligent by ripping apart other people’s attempts to act. And we don’t look to try anything new, because we often fall into the same thought patterns and produce the same ideas over and over.
As opposed to today’s culture of inevitability, we should look instead to the thinkers of the past, like Thomas Edison: “He failed 5,000 times. Edison’s responded by saying he didn’t know what his assistant meant by the word ‘failed,’ because Edison believed he discovered 5000 things that don’t work.” We can also embrace ambiguity rather than absolute right or wrong, and instead of destroying ideas, we should look for ways to build them up.
All of these sins feed into the deadliest of all: the failure to accept personal responsibility. We love to blame others for other problems, whether it’s the people in our lives (our teachers, our parents) or society at large (the government, the environment). But there’s only one person who can change the way you act and think, and that is you.
Dismissing these sins starts with belief in ourselves and getting rid of the fear. It’s only then that we’ll start being more creative, and reaping the rewards that come with it.
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