Identify and overcome the limiting beliefs killing your creativity

Negative thoughts are the first creativity killer that many of us encounter. You may be familiar with your own negative thought patterns. I am not good enough, I do not know enough, I cannot do this, I am not talented, other people are doing it better, I am not a real artist, I am not creative, etc. You can fill in your own if you want. Get them all out. Better on paper than in your head.

This post is about the other creativity killers in our lives…the trickier and harder to find killers masquerade as our BELIEFS. That is right, these are things we believe that are actually creating limitations in how we act in and perceive the world. Limiting beliefs which I like to call “covert creativity killers.”

Identify and overcome limiting beliefs in four steps

There are four steps I recommend in identifying and stopping your limiting beliefs.

STEP ONE Make a list of all the beliefs you have about creativity. Aim for 25. Write fast and non-stop to get the flow going. You want to get past the left-brain wall of judgment which will analyze and judge every item. Just write and let it all out. You can write as a narrative or a list, whatever feels right for you.

STEP TWO Review your list of beliefs underlining, circling, or highlighting the beliefs that seem limiting or negative.

Stop covert creativity killers: 4 steps to overcoming limiting beliefs

STEP THREE Take your chosen belief and ask yourself two questions a la Byron Katie:

1. Is it true?

2. Is it really true?

What you are looking for here is a window around the belief. For example, if I believe that I am not an artist because I never completed art school I would ask myself if that was true and I might say, in fact, YES it is true. Because I believe it. The second question…But is it REALLY true?…invites me to ponder it more scientifically. And when I do that I have to admit that no, it is not true. The fact that I did not go to art school does not mean I am not an artist. I am totally and completely an artist to more core (I am a creative goddess, after all!) But I will tell you truly, that belief stopped me from expressing my creativity for much of my life. And I believe it…I was sure it was true. This is what I mean when I talk about covert creativity killers!
STEP FOUR You have identified your beliefs, you have chosen one and questioned it’s validity. Now it is time to challenge that belief even further. What can you do in the next 3 days that will put that belief to the test, or what can you do that is directly opposed to that view?

In my example, I might do a search of self-taught artists. Or I might start introducing myself as an artist when I meet people. Or I might start saying an affirmation like ‘I am an artist who never finished art school.’

So, what can you do to challenge your belief?

Identify and overcome limiting beliefs: Bonus Exercise

You have a big list of beliefs about creativity, right? As a bonus activity, I suggest looking at the beliefs you did not highlight and picking one that seems the most benign. Maybe you have a belief that art is beautiful, for example. Now go through steps 3 and 4 with this benign belief. See what you discover. Also ask yourself, how might this belief limit me?

OK, you are now armed and ready to uncover and overcome your covert creativity killers. Go forth and CREATE!