Newsletter #509 – Reclaiming Your Creativity

Would you agree that most people are born creative? Little kids have outlandish imaginations and forms of play but, “over time, because of creativity 3socialization and formal education, a lot of us stifle these impulses…. The world seems to divide into ‘creatives’ and ‘noncreatives’ and too many people unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.” Harvard Business Review (December, 2012) suggests that “creativity is essential for success in any discipline or industry.” According to an IBM survey of chief executives around the world, creativity is “the most sought-after trait in leaders today.” Many adults lack creativity, but the HBR authors argue that creative abilities and confidence can be rekindled. This starts by tackling four fears that hold creativity back. Think how these apply to you, to your work, and to the people you work with.

  1. Fear of the Unknown. It is scary to break out of our comfort zones, seek new experiences or try something different. To get past these fears, start by taking small steps. Get feedback from students, customers or counseling clients. Visit online forums or social media sites. Casually talk to people with whom you might disagree or read what they write. These steps build confidence and inch you toward creative ideas.
  2. Fear of Being Judged. What if you make a mistake, get laughed at or face criticism? Fears like these keep us from trying anything new. “We hang back, allowing others to take risks. But you can’t be creative if you constantly are censoring yourself.” So move slowly, cautiously or tentatively revealing alternative ideas before you take action.
  3. Fear of the First Step. “Creative efforts are hardest at the beginning. The writer faces the blank page; the teacher, the start of school; business people, the first day of a new project;” the beginning counselor, the first client. So “stop focusing on the overall task and find a small piece you can tackle right away.”
  4. Fear of Losing Control. Find others to move forward with you. Let go of ideas that are not working. Don’t cling to control. Be open to ideas from others and your creativity will be stimulated.

What are other ways to build or restore creativity? Please leave a reply.



  1. Some more ways to restore creativity:
    1. Be inquisitive! Ask the questions that small children ask: Why? How? What for? What if?
    2. Play! Play with words, or a hobby, or a sport. There’s so much more out there.
    3. Brainstorm! See how many ideas you can come up with to solve a problem. When you get stuck, look at the problem from yet another angle and keep brainstorming. Resist the temptation to critique your ideas until you have a plethera of them!


  2. One way to promote creativity in an organization is for each of us to encourage those with whom we work to be creative. If someone expresses the possibility that he or she would like to do something out of their normal realm, use encouraging words to help them. It’s important to praise those effrorts too, even if they are not perfect. The praise doesn’t have to be extravagent or exaggerated, but it can be praise nonetheless, which might encourage the person to try again with better results.


  3. Degrees of risk come with being creative. Doing something new, different, out of the ordinary might bring a novel and productive outcome. Then, again, it might flop. Being creative for many, it seems, is an act of faith. We must be willing to accept the uncertainty that comes with acting in creative ways. When I can accept the degrees of risk, I feel less distracted and more free to act creatively in the present.


    1. Good to hear from you Mark. I think that some people with creative ideas never let them come forth because there is risk involved. I wonder how many people and organizations (churches and academic institutions included) stay stuck in the same old ways because everybody is afraid of taking risks. Fear or risk probably kills a lot of creativity.


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