Creative Roadblocks: Beware & Bulldoze Through!

By Raina N. Whitfield, MSW


Creativity and innovation combined are the main artery of a unique you. In any career or business the innovative ideas and creative paths taken are the ones that tend to excel passed what is humdrum and been done. However, being a person who seeks an innovative career or has a creative calling, can be difficult at times. There are things that can get in the way of the your ideas, and cause your creative well to run low. Though, there are also ways to combat these roadblocks and keep sailing smooth onto your next ground-breaking project. Avoiding these barriers will help you on your journey to fulfill your creative purpose. Here are 3 creative roadblocks to beware of and 3 ways to bulldoze through.

Beware of this failure: the Fear of Failure. The fear of failure can stem from a longing for perfection. The fear of not producing something faultless can stifle creativity. The fear of imperfection can even enhance reluctance and procrastination. Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan’s theory of self-determination is concerned with motivation and touches on this idea that fear of failure can decrease motivation. Being afraid of your full potential can stop your creativity in its tracks.

Bulldoze this: There are no mistakes! Instead of striving for perfection, create an environment that allows you to make mistakes. This means that any idea that you have will be a good idea. At that point you’ve stopped yourself from shutting down your creative process. You’ve opened yourself up to any idea, and that can lay the foundation for innovation.

Beware of this: Multitasking and distractions. We’ve all seen hundreds of job descriptions that ask for a candidate that can “multitask” right? While this may be good for certain environments, multitasking should stop when you are trying to have innovative vision.  

Bulldoze this: Quiet your mind! When you give yourself some room to think freely about one thing at a time you open your mind up to more thoughts that can be used to create. Your creative process requires a bit of focus. Taking the time out to focus on your project will allow your creativity to be heard.  If you are tweeting, texting, and watching Friends in syndication, where have you left room to be original in thought? Shhh…

Beware of this: Cynics and skepticism. Sure you will always encounter some skepticism and cynicism when you’ve brought something to the table with which no one is familiar. However, this can be a roadblock because cynics are typically anti-creativity and innovation. Tradition, tradition, tradition! These people and this mind set are used to reinventing the same wheel time and time again. They’d rather since it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Bulldoze this: Recognize this as a growth opportunity, engage them in the process! Because Rome wasn’t built in a day, it is critical to bounce your creative ideas off others for growth. So why not engage the very people or ideas that say NO?  Listen to what they have to say; some of the ideas may be relevant. Also, by engaging them in the process you can help them understand why innovation and creativity is essential in the discovery of new unique ideas and projects. Who knows maybe you can help the skeptics and the cynics discover their creative purpose in the process.

Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self actualization is one of the highest needs human beings will have met in their lives. Conversely, creativity falls into this category of needs. Alan Aldo (1980) said you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself (para. 43). In order to meet this creative need and find self actualization, one must continue to fight through the barriers that arise to snuff out ingenuity. By recognizing that the roadblocks will occur, you can better get through them and continue on being innovating, striving for creative purpose, and achieving personal success in all that you do set out to do.