Today’s competitive, fast-paced society often makes it difficult for creative thinkers to produce their most thoughtful and productive work. Known as creative blocks, these situations often elicit frustration, fear and high levels of worry at the most inopportune moments. But why do these blocks happen in the first place, and how can we overcome them when they arise?
In a highly personal and intimate discussion on the week’s final day, author, speaker and lifestyle designer, Karina Velasco shared her top tips for stopping and preventing creative blocks as well as her insights on their various causes.
To welcome and engage the audience, Velasco began by inviting everyone to take a deep breath and slowly exhale. As she later explained, the rationale behind this is that consciously breathing helps open the mind up to creation. Being open, or having “freedom,” is one of three key principles that Velasco herself believes make up creativity. Together with the other two (focus and fun), Velasco said people should be well-equipped to access their creative potential.
But when ideas aren’t flowing how we usually expect them to, it’s easy to feel as if we will never think of anything new or successful. To combat this, Velasco advises creators to look within and ask themselves new questions — something she calls “creative exploring.” If this is done correctly, we will enter an unfamiliar place and receive brand new answers to the questions we ask.
“Inquiry allows us to break the mold, to get out of the box and to innovate. We all think we have an open mind, but to really be in the open mind is to be in the unknown,” Velasco said.
Another useful tactic Velasco described is to strive for “creative feel,” which means to tap into our innate desire to succeed. By doing this, the fear we often feel about what other people will think of our work slowly fades away. Breaking boundaries and doing what you naturally feel is right, however scary, is what Velasco said usually produces the best work.
However, the idea of always producing your very best work can be dangerous because it often leads to an obsession with perfection. What’s more, Velasco explained that when we chase perfection, we’re really only chasing after the impossible.
“The cool thing about being creative, is there’s no perfection in creativity,” Velasco said. “[We say] ‘it’s perfect,’ but what does that mean? For me, perfection is a little bit of a delusion.”
So, what should you do the next time you’re experiencing a creative block? For Velasco, the process is easy: sit back, take a deep breath and open your mind to new questions, freedom and the possibility of mistakes.