Obstacles to creativity
Competition in the present environment can hamper motives for
creative output. Concerns with job advancement or opportunities as
opposed to job stability or security may affect motives to be creative
- Being too busy and getting too involved with a problem
- Having conflicting goals and objectives
- Not allowing yourself enough time to relax
Also, business corporations have found that the creativeness of their
employees are promoted when the structure of their organization is less
hierarchical and more democratic and free flowing.
The clearest example of environmental influence is when one is creative
in virtue of serendipity. These are instances when the environment
facilitates creativity by affording stimulating observations. One study
suggested that cues in the environment while completing one task can
facilitate insight on a later task, without the subject's awareness.
Moreover, there has been many historical accounts that claim the
Zeitgeist or cohort at a particular point in time have influenced
Most of the obstacles to creativity can be found within you.
- Fear of criticism
- Lack of confidence
- State of mind/body (for example experiencing negative stress)
The main thing that hinders creative thinking is our belief that
we are 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.
Affirmations can be used to create a suitable self-image.
Creativity is hampered by a too-hectic environment that does not
provide quiet time for reflection and introspection. It is also hampered
- 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.
Dehumanizing mass media can contribute to limitations on creativity.
Spend less time immersed in popular culture (television or listening
to pop music), or take conscious breaks from the everyday world to
practice creative thinking.
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
- 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.
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Last updated: 4th August 1999