Blocks to creativity


Important to successful living, creativity is an essential component of an artist's productivity. Creativity can flourish when it is motivated. Blocks to creativity are things that can interfere with it. Here are blocks of two kinds: environmental and cultural. Environmental blocks to creativity: 1 Physical surroundings. One's surroundings must provide space, furnishings, lighting, atmosphere, sound, odor, safety, and comforts of adequate quality. Outside people and things must not overly intrude. Examples of problematic surroundings: a roof that's leaking, air that's too hot or too cold, a relative or neighbor that's threatening or crying. 2 Lack of cooperation or trust in a group. When a collaborative creative group is formed, an inflexible or inconsiderate member can sabotage the process. 3 An autocratic leader. When someone takes control of what ideas will be entertained, the ideas of others are frustrated. Establishing the roles of team members (the rules members are expected to follow) as early as possible is helpful. 4 Lack of physical, economic, or organizational help. Examples: Hunger, illness, and financial worries. Or, an educator, gallery, client, or grant-provider whose rigidity or negativity is obstructive. Cultural blocks to creativity: 1 Fear of inability, making a bad choice, or a mistake; fear of failing, or of risking too much. All such fears are forms of insecurity. When I doubt that I am capable of accomplishing a task successfully (whether this self-doubt is reasonable or not) it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anticipation of failure easily breeds failure. When confidence-building is needed, here is how to do it: start with easy tasks, and proceed to gradually more and more challenging ones. Studies have proven that people can learn at any age, no matter what their experience or lack of experience has been. A creator takes much higher risks than does a critic. Indeed just a few harsh words can be devastating. Although we hope for rewards for doing things well, we are criticized for our flaws. "Everyone's a critic" is a cliche, but it's also true. The world is not always kind and understanding toward bold creativity. Negative criticism ? ridicule and punishment ? whether true or not, should be deflected. Constructive criticism is positive advice, such as suggestions of how to make improvements. It is both easier and wiser to attend to it. Indeed constructive criticism is vital to everyone's growth. Each of us needs to cultivate our skills of receiving and giving it. See art criticism and critique. 2 No appetite for chaos; inability to tolerate ambiguity. Another form of insecurity. Key to the success of creative thinking is the ability to entertain widely differing or incongruous ideas, so that they can coexist long enough conceptually in order to be considered as a new composition. 3 Judging rather than generating ideas. Another form of insecurity. This is the safer way to go. If a person analyzes a new idea too early in the creative process, new ideas are rejected before they have been allowed to take what might become more appealing forms. "We are each our own worst critics," is a related cliche, and likewise often true. Letting 4 Inability to incubate, to "sleep on it." Time is often needed for the subconscious to wrestle with a challenge. When a person is relaxed, he is more receptive to new ways of thinking about the challenge. 5 Lack of motivation, lack of enthusiasm. The attitude: "There's nothing in it for me." Or, "If there's no reward, why do it?" 6 Excessive zeal. The attitude: "I want it NOW!" Everyone likes instant gratification, but a creative person avoids requiring results prematurely. 7 Awareness and control of reality and fantasy. The need to be awake, alert, present, attentive. The need to be able to fantasize, but not sink at the deep end. An obscure term for the fear of failure is "alychiphobia."Quote: "Of all the unhappy people in the world, the unhappiest are those who have not found something they want to do." Lin Yutang.Also see art criticism, art therapy, attitude, brainstorming, choose, culture, custom, effort, genius, inspiration, motivation, and muses.