What stops you from having ideas?

I was reading a book recently that claimed that the number one requirement for having ideas is believing that you are capable of having ideas. It sounds too simple doesn’t it? Apparently confidence in your ability is the key. I also read that when you give people lessons in creativity, they become very adept at problem solving. Not because they are actually any better at solving complex problems, just because they think  they are.

It struck me that this is a problem many of us face. We think that having ideas is hard, and in some cases it is, but it’s made even harder by our mental state. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can talk yourself into having skills that you don’t have. Acquiring skills is just plain hard work, but the creative spark that leads to the generation of ideas and options is definitely something we all have inside of us.

I think there are few reasons that we go around thinking that we aren’t capable of having ideas and they all revolve around criticism, either self-criticism or fear of being criticised by other people.

Maybe you were told as a child that you weren’t very artistic, or perhaps some of your creative projects didn’t turn out very well. These experiences can impact very negatively on our sense of self.

Fortunately the opposite is also true. As a young person I always thought that I was going to be able to play the piano rather well. This was because my lovely grandmother always told me that I had ‘piano player’s hands’. I didn’t actually ever play the piano very well as I didn’t practise enough, but I always secretly thought of myself as having musical talent.

Also, as I mentioned before, I have recently come to realise that this is a huge difference between being artistic and being creative. Creativity is much broader and is a process that we can all engage in. You might be good at any number of things, for example cooking, writing, making a beautiful garden or sewing. All of these activities are highly creative and you should give yourself credit for things you are good at.

You should also try new things. Who knows, you may have a hidden talent for something you have yet to discover. Think about what you like doing and just have a go.

I would be really interested to hear what holds you back from your creative endeavours? Is it a lack of faith in your ability, or fear that someone will criticise your efforts?

By the way, do you like the new theme for my blog? Pretty isn’t it?

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