8 Things That Are Harming Your Creative Potential as a Professional

To coincide with the launch of my new ebook, ‘9 Steps to Being Your Most Powerful Creative Self,’ I’d like to share with you a quick run down of some things worth looking at that are detrimental to your ability to be more effective, creatively.

Obviously, as creative people, stunted creativity, and the lack of productivity, and strength of mind and character that come with it, is something to address and reduce.

Here are ten ways that we are harming our creativity, often without even knowing it:

1. Lacking belief in the value of your own work

If you are not confident, not only about yourself as a person, but about your own work, your own brand and the style you do things in, you will not be able to attain a level of creativity that many true creative masters and successful creative professionals have reached.

“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”

Edwin Land

2. Failing to work with your strengths

A lot of people spend far too much time trying to fix their weaknesses and the problems they already have, instead of looking to one’s strengths to move forward on various projects.

Finding effective creativity is difficult if you are ignoring what you can do well.

3. Not knowing your style

It would seem that only working within a specific style would restrict one’s creativity. For creative people who haven’t found their style, whether that be an illustrative style or musical style, for example, one’s ability to be creative and original actually becomes limited.

“Out of limitation comes creativity.”

Debbie Allen

4. Being surrounded by distractions

Distractions inhibit our ability to spend quality, unobstructed time on creative projects, as well as clouding our mind and reducing our ability to concentrate on tasks. This is an obvious one, but only requires some quick changes to put right.

5. Thinking too much

The analogy that is often made about one’s mind being like that of a garden is very true. Without a certain amount of control and ‘weeding’, our thoughts can get the better of us and fuzz over our ability to think clearly.

Clarity of thought with less conscious thought is a crucial element to powerful creativity.

6. Not managing our physical energy

It’s very easy to neglect our own bodies, and lower energy levels in the process, through, for example, prioritizing actually doing creative work without break and staying idol over developing positive habits that our bodies benefit from.

Staying in all day to work on a project whilst drinking coffee and eating cake ring any bells?

7. Not regularly training your creative brain

Creative growth, and thus a powerful creative mind, come from constantly pushing one’s ability out of its comfort zone. A lot of us might think that when we are being creative through working on our various projects or painting a picture, for example, that we are exercising our creativity.

To an extent yes, but for the most part, if the work you do is similar to what you do a lot (and feels comfortable), you’re not developing your creative mind properly. This requires active participation in things, not passive.

8. Restricting your network of creative people

The saying that two brains are better than one ring true here, in that having a network of people you can refer to, ask questions of, share and collaborate with will add a great deal of clout to your creative power and confidence.

This idea is something that is often ignored as anything of value, but in a world in which people are more connected than ever, its potential to increase your own power is massive.


So that’s it, and hopefully you have some things to think about (obviously not too much or it’ll harm your creativity!).




  1. I agree with all of these! Another thing that messes with creative potential is worrying too much about what other people think. If you can’t get in tune with your inner creative voice because you’re too busy imagining what other people want or will like (or will not like!), then it becomes impossible to do your best creative work.

  2. This is really accurate. And I agree with Anne’s comment too. I’m in this situation right now (art block).
    The saddest part is… I have NO network of creative people.

  3. @Fathima, personally for me im still exploring my style and i probobly will forever do so. I just create art i want to see, one of the most important lesson Austin Kleon says in his article “How to steal like an artist”. Create what you want to see, even if it means creating a magazine advertisement, a painting, or even a doodle and eventually you will find the niche and media that works best for you.

    Even when i am creating something boring like a counter card for my portfolio i create one that would catch my eye. Eventually as you learn new techniques and how to acheive those goals you will meld those into your own style ever evolving and ever changing.

  4. Great article! I’ve lately become much better at many of those points, but then I started having problems with 6th point- I’m so into doing things I want to do that I tend to forget to eat well and exercise. Just went to a break doing push-ups after reading this article :))

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