I struggled to create. To be a creator. To fill a blank sheet of paper, with ideas, words or any meaning. I had no idea what to write, draw or create. Every time I tried to be creative I failed. For a long time, I felt miserable about that. I asked myself where this lack of creativity comes from. And after years in which I lived in this state of uncertainty, I finally figured out the reasons for this:

Our society is about orders and imperatives. Starting in school, we are told what to do. We have to write an essay about a certain topic, we have to solve the mathematical equation in this way and we need to behave in a given way. Is there any room for something special, something extraordinary?

Not at all

We simply learn to solve problems. Problems we can measure with grades, numbers and KPI’s. Day in day out we should use the given methods to solve problems. If there is anyone who thinks outside of these patterns he/she will get “normalized” over time.

I saw this on a young girl, who I give some extra lessons in Math’s. She has a whole different kind of thinking. To me it was absolutely new, because every time I expected a specific answer on a mathematical question, she answered something completely different. But in general, the answers weren’t wrong. They were simply different.

Let me give you an example: Once I asked her how to calculate the border of a triangle. She had the Pythagoras formula in school and I knew that she could calculate the result. But instead of telling me that she needs to subtract the one side from the other before she has to extract the root, she simply told me: “Well, we have to multiply and subtract some numbers.”

Yes, this simply sounds like a young girl in puberty. Unwilling to do some Math’s. But the way she tells it, you would immediately understand that she’s thinking in an “irrational” pattern. Of course, she may have some problems in Math’s, but she isn’t an idiot. Not at all. She has a whole different way of thinking in comparison to traditional problem solvers or rational thinkers like me. Unlike me, she doesn’t see the numbers and their logical connection, she thinks in different patterns, which can’t be measured with mathematical questions.

Fascination and scare

On the one hand this fascinates me. She is surprisingly different and it’s great to hear such a different approach to problems and life in general. On the other hand, I know, that she will have problems in school if she can’t adapt to the required stringent kind of thinking to at least some extent. And exactly here’s the crux.

Especially in our puberty, we are vulnerable. We want to conquer the world with our ideas and dreams. We have so much power to use. But often within a few years, we lose this power and become disillusioned. Often, we think that our former dreams are unrealistic, insecure or simply not worth pursuing. Sadly, often the same happens to our refreshingly different way of thinking.

Because of all the strict rules to follow, the “advices” we got, the daily influence of advertisement we experience and our own uncertainty, most of us transition from wanting to create something to simple consuming. Who of us didn’t jump through the garden dreaming about a secret world? Or wanted to build a tree house to protect your friends and have fun? Or even write a book, play a guitar and become a Rockstar? Maybe you also wanted to draw a painting?! Although, we all were so creative in the past, now some of us have totally lost the sense of creativity.

Growing up

That’s the simplest answer to avoid doing the aforementioned. “We grew up. We realized how life actually is.” Isn’t this a lazy and easy answer? Isn’t this the comfortable way to avoid confessing that we unfortunately got stuck in the typical laziness of working 9 to 5. To avoid confessing that we don’t want to do something which requires a lot of our brain power?

To me it is and I see several problems, why people struggle to create:

#1 We were told that there is always a perfect method

A perfect method we need to use, in order to get the perfect result. Is there any possibility of individualization? Not at all, because this one method is proven. A proven method means getting the best output possible. If it doesn’t work for you, you are wrong! Simple, isn’t it?

At this point, nobody is telling you that living your own happy life hasn’t a proven method to follow. Most of us (including me in the past) think happiness equals having more. This changes us, from kids who are curious about the world, to hard-working employees who always long for the latest stuff, which is the perfect transition to the next point.

#2 We were told to consume

How should we learn or become better in creating, when we were always told to consume? Consuming equals avoiding to create something. The commercials in TV, the advertisements we see day for day. Everything aims for making us to consumers. And with consuming only we won’t leave our comfort zones to get creative, which gets me to the next:

#3 We become lazy

Even if at some point we have realized that we can create something, we don’t have any will to do so. Our lives are so exhausting, we can’t take the time to effectively create something. Because creating is exhausting too and all we need is some peace, after a long stressful work day, full of things we hate or at least don’t like. Simply put, we avoid getting creative. The only thing we want to do at the end of such a day is to lay down. Start binging a new series, reading news or clicking ourselves through feeds. In these feeds, we saw shiny lives of amazing people, which creates

#4 A Lack of confidence to start from scratch

To create something always means to start with nothing more than an idea. This means, that we would leave our current comfort zones and start doing something we probably don’t know much about. We feel like “there are so many people out there, why should I be the one who can make a change? The one, who can create something extraordinary, when there are so many “professionals” out there?

These problems combined create an intrinsic appeal to look for easy and quick solutions. Who of us didn’t google “5 best tips to lose weight”, “7 tips to become more focused”, or “the best way to become more confident”? We became lazy. Because we were told that there is always a proven, scientific or successful way for doing things, we are tempted to google it. This is the first mistake.

The second mistake, which is also directly connected to the first, is the following: We try to use a method which has worked for somebody else and try to fit it in our own lives. But believe it or not, life is a bit more difficult than the already hard mathematical equation we solved back in the seventh grade. This means, we try to use a working, but for someone else optimized, method. Then, we wonder why we still struggle and don’t experience any success. Because, “There is a proven way for it, why should we put it a lot of effort and try it in a different way, right?”

Wrong

I reluctantly learned it on my own that there is no perfect solution available for oneself. Instead, we have to craft it from nothing. We have to consider our values, our believes, our character and what we truly care about, to smooth our own way. Sure, we need some input from others, but finally it’s up to us to live our lives.

Nobody else can create a perfect life for you

Of course, we could also live the life of somebody else, but with doing this, we will never achieve to be happy. There will always be something we can improve and always something we need to have. To “fill” the unconsciously infinite void between us and OUR personal definition of happiness.

I mean, I experienced and experience all of the aforementioned on my own. I struggled to create because of the lack of confidence. Because I thought that I need some rest after such a hard day full of work. Or simply because I was too lazy. But finally, I reminded and remind myself to push through these struggles and fears. Sometimes, even on daily basis. And if I can do this, you can do this too!

Because of that, you shouldn’t fear to struggle while creating. Stop to act according to taught patterns and start creating. Outside clear borders. You leave your own comfort zone and start to explore what will wait outside of it. No wonder, we struggle the first times. Maybe even the first hundred times. But struggling doesn’t mean we should give up on it. Creativity is what takes time, courage and effort.

Invest your time and effort, your sweat and tears, and don’t fear a bad outcome. The “outcome” will always be good, even if it’s “only” a new experience in life. All you need is to keep going, to spread your wings and learn to fly. Because finally, creativity isn’t limited to an empty sheet of paper laying in front of you. It can be everything you ever wanted, made out of everything you ever feared.

Stop thinking in patterns, be creative and tell me what you’ll do next!

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