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From Self-Doubt to Inspiration: A Guide to Unlocking Your Creative Potential

– An article authored by Mr. Shiraz Khan, Founder, Spicetree Design Agency (SDA)

Don’t start reading this article yet. Look away from the page for a minute and think- what is creativity?

Well, I did this exercise, too, and this is what I came up with: Creativity is the ability to go beyond rules or traditional ways to generate new ideas using your imagination. The keyword here is YOUR imagination.

If you have a fully functional brain, you can be creative. But sometimes, we find ourselves in a creative block. We can’t reach for that idea or clever solution to our problems. But trust me; it’s there. That creative idea is hidden somewhere. We’ve perhaps just fallen prey to one of the enemies of creativity.

Here are 6 of the biggest and most common enemies of creativity:

  1. Comfort Zone: The majority of us like comfort. However, comfort also means ‘dullness.’ Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but also opens inspirational opportunities. Imagine planning a vacation and booking a tourist car for yourself, like always, to explore the place. But if you never leave the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle, how will you experience the thrill of running and catching the local bus?
  2. Fear of failure: If scientists stopped experimenting for fear of failure, the world wouldn’t have seen incredible inventions and advancements. Failure is how you learn! Failure teaches you what works and what doesn’t. So, what are you afraid of? Remember, failures can’t do any permanent damage.
  3. Self-doubt: This stems from the examples before us. Watching our colleagues receive praise for their work can be intimidating. The first thought that crosses our minds is, “My ideas will never be good enough!” At this point, we don’t feel motivated enough even to try.
  4. Fear of rejection: The fear of being laughed at, looking foolish, or being rejected is a major barrier to creativity. This stops us from trying something new, something brave. “What if my idea sounds absolutely insane?” We prefer to play it safe. We’re hesitant to take on risks. We’re wired to believe that rejection is terrible.
  5. Reluctance to change: How would email have been created if no one wanted to shift from postal letters? Creativity comes from change. But some of us are afraid to try new things. New schedules. New workplace. New people. Reluctance to change is a major obstacle in creative thinking.
  6. Lack of sleep: A well-rested mind can do wonders. When sleep deprived, your body cannot work at full capacity. However, if you pack in enough hours, you’ll feel energized. You’ll be able to see opportunities instead of problems. You’ll be able to find a new perspective!

All living beings are capable of creativity. It’s a survival skill. But not every idea has to be as significant as the invention of the wheel. It can be something as simple as finding a shorter route to work to save time. That’s creativity too.

Sometimes, we only need a little push, and that light bulb will shine as bright as the football stadium lights. You will be wriggling out of your creative block after a few adjustments: a little inspiration and a lot of faith in yourself.

Travel: Expose your brain to new sights and new cultures. There is a whole world out there. A whole world of ideas! Meet people from different professions and different cities.

Be open to change: Switch it up! Do something different today. Try out an adventure sport. Have your meeting in the open instead of the boardroom. Listen to others. Learn to accept ideas that aren’t yours.

Breathe: That’s right. Breathe. Slow down for a while. Take regular breaks from work, studies, or whatever is in your daily routine. You’ll come back afresh and be able to churn out creative ideas.

Share: If you have a thought, share it with someone. If they like it, great! If not, ask them for feedback. You’ll perhaps think of something better. Sharing is better than rolling in self-doubt.

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