The Enemy of Creativity

I’m going to ask you a question and I’d be curious to know what your brain’s first responses are.


What is your personal biggest enemy of creativity?

Ok, got an answer?  Or a few?   (I’d love it if you’d share them with me in the comments below.)

While I’m sure everything that came up is indeed blocking your creative flow, here’s something I believe to be one of the biggest opponents to your creative muse:

Being a know-it-all.

In John Bradshaw’s book Healing the Shame that Binds You he talks about how we all have healthy shame and that it actually keeps us from being a know-it-all.  Healthy shame reminds us that we are human.  It sort of keeps us in check.  You know how you blush when you do something embarrassing (like accidentally knocking your glass off the table with your head while impersonating someone tossing their hair back at that really nice restaurant)?  That’s your healthy shame is kicking in.  It shows us our limits and keeps us from having a God complex.  The book also talks about how living in that “knowing everything” space keeps us from being open to possibility.  And that’s in the way of creativity.

This got me thinking about actors.  And myself.

When I first started really studying acting in my early twenties I wanted to be good so badly.  I had been doing plays since I was little and really thought I knew how to act.  I had even been paid to do theatre so I must have known what I was doing.  Truthfully, I don’t think I even realized you could learn to act.  I sort of thought you were either good or you weren’t.  Something you were born with.  So when I started taking acting classes I think my real goal was to impress everyone.  I wanted the teachers to tell me I was good to validate me as a human being.  And if I admitted I didn’t know anything, I would be admitting that I had no value.  I was so afraid of people thinking I was an amateur, I spent all my energy creating the facade of “professional”  instead of actually becoming one.

Luckily these days, while I don’t always do it perfectly, I try to remember that coming from curiosity, or what Buddhists call Shoshin, or The Beginner’s Mind, is really where it’s at.  I remind myself that there isn’t any room for curiosity when I have all the answers.  Because in the end, I know it won’t really get me what I’m after.  

Something to think about.

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