On certain days, I feel as if there is a torrential downpour of great ideas in my mind. Such days are beginning to occur pretty often nowadays. Such days used to occur very often earlier also, right when I had taken up the creative lifestyle, but they slowly became less and less frequent. I wondered why. “Have I dried up my creativity?”, is what I sometimes allowed myself to wonder. It wasn’t true ofcourse. Somewhere inside me I already knew why the “great idea days” were becoming less frequent.
The answer was right there, staring in my face, once I decided to look for it: I was not acting on my ideas.
For multiple reasons, we don’t act on our ideas and creative inspiration most of the times. Let us look at five reasons most common reasons why we don’t:
#1 We discard ideas as “impossible” or “impractical” without even giving it a proper thought.
We are so habitual to looking for the many ways in something that will not work, that we have forgotten how to think of how something can work. Since our childhood, we have been trained and conditioned to think of ways to avoid pain and hurt. We have been told that anything new usually brings some pain or hurt with it, so tread carefully. Unfortunately, this conditioning is so deep, that many times we don’t even realize what all possibilities we are turning down, without even giving it a second thought. We declare the verdict as “impractical” without even thinking that we are the ones who define how something can or cannot be practical, and that this definition keeps changing over time, by the very evolution of great ideas!
#2 The consumerist society has hardwired our brains to think of money almost simultaneously with any work.
If we do some work which doesn’t promise money, we consider it useless. We measure the value of something with money. Not everyone, ofcourse. But that is the general mindset. So, for example, if someone has an idea to start a blog about knitting, they may immediately start thinking of how it can fetch them money. If they don’t find any good way to make money from the blog, they will end up giving up on the idea of the blog altogether, throwing all their creativity into the dustbin! We have forgotten that there is something like doing something for the pure joy of doing it. It may fetch money also, but that cannot be the only reason why we do something.
#3 We are afraid of the opinions of others.
Being creative requires you to be original, in your own world. It may not be something no one else has ever done, but it can be something you have never done before. Whenever someone tries to break the pattern of what people know of them, people tend to mock and judge the person. Many times people even try their best to dissuade and break the spirit of the person who is doing something creative, just because they themselves are not capable of breaking the mold. And the person who is trying something like this for the first time feels really really scared of being judged and laughed at. Many times, people give up their original ideas just because they don’t want people to deride them and because they want to be accepted in the society.
#4 We don’t even recognize our creativity.
Many people really think being creative is just about painting and sketching. To them creativity = art. Hence, when they have any original ideas, they don’t even consider that this is a dimension of their being that they need to look into. They just ignore and continue to believe that they are not creative.
#5 We are just plain lazy.
Yes, that is true. The very concept of “hard work” is making people more and more lazy. The office goers forming the biggest chunk of the “lazy lot”. Something happens to people who go to office that they have no will, desire, energy or enthusiasm left for anything else in life. Even if they do have a passion or enthusiasm for something, it is countered by such a deep desire to relax and just not do anything, that nothing eventually gets done on the creative front! Maybe people are just deprived for proper rest – physical or mental. But they don’t realize that working on an idea that inspires you can be the most refreshing thing you do in the whole week!
These reasons are by no means exhaustive. There can be many more reasons. But these I consider to be the biggest roadblocks in our journey towards innovation and making creativity our lifestyles. The good news is, that each of these can be easily conquered by just one simple decision to pursue that which makes you feel alive – whatever it may be.