Your pre-conceived notions about creativity might be holding you back from real innovation. Break free by understanding these six myths.
Myth: I'm not a creative person.
Reality: When you label yourself, when you say that you are a creative or aren’t a leader, you’re really making decisions about what actions you will or won’t pursue. It turns out, when people believe they can change things like their brainpower, they become more curious and more open-minded and are less likely to give up. So change your story. Tell yourself you’re capable. And if you still don’t believe it, find people who’ve done what you want to do and listen to the story they tell themselves. Likely, they’re telling themselves to be patient, to get help and to push forward. When you tell yourself a better story, you’ll like the part you play.
Read more: 3 Steps to a Breakthrough
Myth: Inspiration will strike.
Reality: Actually, the most innovative solutions come from those who know the problems best. Those people really think about the problem over time, do research, and think about the issue from different perspectives. These people have also hit some serious roadblocks and have needed to start over, helping them strengthen the solution they’ll eventually find. So, instead of waiting, take action. Journaling, sketching, or even just a half hour a day to think about the problem you’re looking to solve will get you further than you’d get otherwise.
Read more: Mark Zuckerberg Calls the 'A-Ha!' Moment a Myth
Myth: I can go it alone.
Reality: When you get stuck, talk with friends or co-workers and use them as a sounding board. Complex problems require multiple viewpoints and creativity thrives on community and collaboration.
Read more: How to Build a Better Brainstorming Session
Myth: There is only one way to be creative.
Reality: False. Everyone has their own way of doing things and sparking inspiration, whether it's working backwards from their vision of the finished product, making maps and charts, setting daily goals, working in different environments – don't try and twist yourself into knots trying to emulate someone else's idea of success.
Read more: What Picasso, King and Einstein Have to Teach Entrepreneurs
Myth: I work better under pressure.
Reality: Really, what you’re saying is you aren’t motivated to work unless you have a deadline. But don’t mistake adrenalin for innovation. You’re finding solutions quickly because you have to – and not because they’re the best options. Time pressure adds to stress, mistakes and can lead you to default to hierarchy and existing solutions, rather than new thinking. You need to find a new motivation, so remind yourself what brought yourself to a project and what only you can bring to it. Focusing on the work, can give you the reboot you need.
Read more: Procrastinators: How to Fight Your Genes and Get Stuff Done
Myth: I have to see this through to the end.
Reality: The blank page can be terrifying. Even worse is getting stuck and staring at something that just doesn't feel like it's working. Stepping back and starting over isn't a sign of failure. Going back to the drawing board can be the move that allows everything to fall into place.
Read more: 7 Ways to Obliterate Creative Roadblocks