Why people stop creating – Part 3 of a series

There are several reasons that people stop creating.

1. Doing things that are harmful

We are basically good, even if we do wrongheaded things some of the time. The best proof of this is that people stop doing things when they realize these actions are harmful to others or to themselves.

It might take years for the truth to sink in, but eventually a person realizes that he or she is hurting others by doing something unethical and they stop doing what they are doing.

This happens frequently in the field of Marketing and Sales. A person uses their talents for many years to skillfully persuade customers to buy services or products and they discover eventually that the customers are being harmed in the process. This discovery makes it almost impossible to continue using that talent. They say they are "burnt out" and it can be a permanent condition if they do not find some worthwhile cause to support.

2. Becoming convinced by others that creativity is harmful

People want to create and they want to help others in the process, if they are of sound mind. Occasionally, there are people who have been so mistreated and so abused that their idea of creation is to punish others or to destroy what others are creating. They eventually become fixated on stopping others. They specialize in creating stops.

Most people are happy to create new things and new ideas whenever they can. When they run into people who are "stoppers" they may have difficulty continuing their usual patterns of happy creation. These "stoppers" will work very hard to convince creative people that they are "wrong" for trying new things, starting a business without years of experience, yada yada, and so forth.

The test you might want to apply is to look at what these stoppers have ever done that is worthwhile. Who have they ever helped? What products have they produced for the community? What organizations have they volunteered for?

3. Feeling there is no purpose in creating further

If your creative activity is driven by necessity, you may find that you approach creativity like a man using duct tape on life. Do enough create to put out the immediate fires and slump back on the sofa and watch TV again.

If your creativity is only done to kill time, like filling out crossword puzzles, it is doubtful that you are energized by the activity.

If you do not create for the purpose of enhancing another’s life, you may find that you do not derive any benefit from creating. Writing and sketching, even knitting or photography can produce beautiful results which are lost when stashed away and not exchanged with others.

A possible solution for those who feel they cannot be creative

Sharing or exchanging your creative activities can open up your life and can produce a great deal of happiness for you and for others. If you feel that you are stuck in a non-creative rut, try finding out what others need and want and you may find that your creativity is re-energized again.

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0 Responses to Why people stop creating – Part 3 of a series

  1. mattbg says:

    David, what about in a work-related context? For example, the manager that I quit (and it was far more the manager than the job that I quit — 6 years into my first full-time job) about 6 months ago was so interested in creating that it didn’t matter what he created. Because of this, he often created the wrong solution to almost every problem he was confronted with because “getting it done” was the main priority. Of course, for someone who only wants to create, this is great because you always have things that need fixing and hence more opportunities to create. Worse, he was impatient with those that wanted to come about a permanent solution because it took too long to see an end result (in comparison, the shoddy quick fix with near-instant results was admired and rewarded).

    So, I think there is such a thing as being a negative producer — your creativity causes regression. In this case, what would you suggest?

    The situation I described above is similar to your point #1, but without the recognition that you are doing harm. Should people ever be compelled to stop creating? #2 is involved here, too. In that job, I began to become a #2 because I could foresee that nothing good would become of this particular style of creativity and it would just make things worse, and I was usually right. Being my first full-time job and having had numerous similar experiences within the same company under different people, and after conversations with outsiders, I began to think it was an industry-wide problem. I was almost at #3 before I found a place where creativity is normally used to good effect.

    Thanks.

  2. I must say that I find a lack of creativity in the workplace much more prevalent and much more troublesome than misguided creativity.

    Any solution that is short term and ultimately counterproductive is simply a poor one and obviously lacking both in foresight and creativity.

    In fact, over the years, I have found the biggest problem facing managers to be fear of the kind of creativity that might change the status quo or go counter to the traditional way of doing things. Cold water is thrown on hot ideas. Bold measures are taken half way, defeating their purpose.

    I have even seen promising careers stymied because managers are seen as creative rather than practical…as if they were mutually exclusive.

    Creativity is not an end in itself. It is a process, a way of approaching the end, be it the creation of a work of art or the resolution of a problem, business or life-related. It is not to be feared; it is to be embraced.

    Regards.

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