If you think some people are born creative and you're not one of them, think again.
What makes some people more creative than others is that they nurture their creativity. In fact, experts say that creativity is primarily a learned skill. And like any other skill you want to learn, it requires that you put in some hard work and effort.
It's not enough to just want to be creative--it takes daily dedication to push yourself into original thoughts and expressive ideas. Too often, though, the biggest thing standing in the way may be your own habits.
Here eight of the worst creativity killers. If you recognize them in your life, cut them out now.
1. Premature judgment. To be creative, you have to allow yourself to be able to generate ideas and innovate freely and without judgment. If you judge your ideas too early in the process, you end up second-guessing and creating less. Separate the two processes, and let your initial run of ideas flow without interruption. There will be time later to select and polish the best.
2. Lack of courage. If you're fearful of taking chances, scared of venturing down new roads, timid about taking the road not traveled on, you're going to find it difficult to ever venture off the main roads. Creativity requires taking a chance and being courageous. Fear is the biggest enemy of creativity.
3. Avoidance of failure. You can't be bold and creative when you're afraid of failure. If your goal is to avoid failure and mistakes, you will play it out conservatively and quietly. Creativity means taking chances and venturing down some dead ends. The really great ideas you come up with will be more than worth it for all the dumb mistakes.
4. Comparing yourself with others. When you compare yourself with others, you rob yourself of your own unique innovation and imagination. Set your own standards of creativity and don't compare yourself with anyone else. Allow yourself to create and be different. The only unique contribution you can ever make in this world will be born of your creativity.
5. Discomfort with uncertainty. Many people fear ambiguity; they want to know that things will make sense. But creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty. It is within this courage to be fearless that creativity will flow. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good habits that allow you to use your imagination and innovation. To be truly creative, you must lose the fear of being wrong.
6. Taking criticism personally. Feedback is always good, and criticism is OK if we don't take it personally. We all need someone who will give us feedback; that's how we improve. Fearing criticism is fearing growth.
7. Lack of confidence. A certain level of uncertainty accompanies every creative act, and a measure of self-doubt is healthy, but if your lack of confidence is overwhelming and long-lasting, it can cost you your abilities. The best way to create is to first connect with your self-confidence.
8. Analysis paralysis. This terrible condition renders you unable to make a decision because of information overload. Every creative person understands that to overthink can be the greatest enemy of creativity.
If you want to create, remember: The more you nurture your skill of creativity, the better you will be at it. So stop the bad habits that are destroying your creativity.