The main thing that hinders creative thinking is our belief that we are simply not creative.
Look at it this way. If you tell yourself: "I am a creative person", then you have to have beliefs about yourself that support that identity. If you tell yourself, "I am just an ordinary human being", then you will have a different set of beliefs. Once you have a particular identity and set of beliefs about yourself, you will become interested in seeking out the skills needed to express your identity and beliefs. If you believe that you are "uncreative", then there is no need to learn how to become creative.
It has been said …
Watch your thoughts, for they
Watch your words, for they become actions.
your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
Affirmations can be used to create a suitable self-image.
Creativity is hampered by too-hectic an environment that does not provide quiet time for reflection and introspection.
It is also hampered by:
- a sterile environment that does not feed the senses
- demands for quick production of results.
- harsh words (from others or from ourselves)
- by rigid rules and barriers that prevent us from gathering information and/or from connecting with others.
Mass media and the hectic, distracting world around us can contribute to limitations on creativity - take conscious breaks from the everyday pop-culture world to practice creative thinking. I personally find the less TV I watch the more open I am to creative ideas.
Other factors that limit creative behavior include:
- Stress. Stress is not only a distraction which drains energy which could otherwise be used creatively, it is bad for one's health.
- Routines. Routines or set ways of performing tasks have their uses, but allowing them to become too entrenched in one's life causes one to limit the range of responses available and can lead to the development of the anathema of creativity, the "bureaucratic mind".
- Beliefs. Having a strong belief in something not only limits our response options, but causes us to limit the way in which we perceive and process information from the outside world. We may "filter out" information which contradicts our belief, and end up in our own "reality tunnel", in which we remain blissfully unaware of much that occurs in front of our very eyes.
- Ego. Having a strong ego identity with a particular belief exacerbates this situation and can lead to us aggressively defending it, to the detriment of ourselves, our creativity, and society. This is not to imply that one must have no beliefs, merely that one needs to be very aware of one's beliefs and consequent limitations.
- Fear. Fear of self expression and of the judgment of others can severely limit one's creativity.
- Self criticism. Negative thinking and self criticism are also limiting factors of an individual's creativity.
In the next installment we will look at the Wallis' model of the Creative Process.