Do you think creativity is a skill you lack? Or do you associate creativity with certain people and you’re not one of them? In our fast-evolving world, creativity is a skill you cannot do without. And most people don’t lack the ability to create. They simply have habits that kill creativity.
The truth is, you were born with an infinite capacity for creativity. Look at any child and you’ll know this is true. But as you grow up, your environment grows more complex, and to cope with these threats, your brain forms habits and sets parameters within which you function almost on auto-pilot.
If you want to reconnect with your creative side, here are five habits that kill creativity and what you can do to stop them.
How Creativity Works
According to neuroscience, creativity thrives on ‘divergent thinking’. In simpler terms, it’s the ability to connect seemingly unrelated things. Your neural network controls this activity, which is a combination of three brain networks — the default mode network, the executive control network, and the salience network. The default mode network provides your repository of ideas. Concentration, emotions, and decision making are some things that the executive network oversees. And the salience network identifies what information is important and what is not. These three work together to produce ‘creative thinking’, and the habits mentioned below hinder all three of them.
Rational thinking is following the safest and most tried-and-tested pattern again and again to solve problems. Your rational mind is risk-averse to new ways of making connections. When you judge every single new idea with your default rational parameters, you stop taking risks and making new connections.
2. The Comfort Zone
This is when you let the default-mode take complete control. If you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, your brain has fallen into a pattern. This means your salience network won’t present new information or your executive control network won’t weave it in with existing ideas. But this is mistaking a stupor for peace of mind. You’re not allowing your brain to perform creative functions, which are an essential part of its job. Getting too comfortable in one place actually numbs the creative part of your brain into inactivity and affects your brain health in the long term.
3. Fear of Failure
Failure is not a pleasant experience at all. It affects your mood and hormones negatively, which is why you avoid scenarios that can lead to failure. One of those scenarios is risk. But all creative enterprise contains a grain of risk. All new things are a leap into the darkness, however small. If you spend all of your energy avoiding failure, your brain stops generating and connecting new ideas. Focusing on failure is one of the habits that will kill creativity.
4. Information Overload
This is an all too common problem. There is too much information at your fingertips and too little time to analyze and digest it. When your brain becomes saturated with too much information, the salience network experiences immense pressure and cannot perform smoothly. This leads to indecision and overthinking, a sign of overworking the executive control network. Taking time off from a work situation is essential so that your brain has time to sort out the various info and discard the unimportant ones.
5. Not Sharing Ideas
Creativity thrives on collaboration. Letting other people’s voices into your mind offers fresh perspectives and a more diverse set of information points. This helps you look at problems differently. When you hide your ideas and work without outside input, you are missing out on important connections that another person with unique life experiences could identify more easily than you.
You are creative. Your brain has all the components to make creative thinking possible. Yet, it is often your brain that hinders creative growth because it relies too much on habits that kill creativity. It’s time to break the cycle. Kill these five habits and unleash your creative potential.
For more on how to unlock your creative side, watch this video: