The Biggest Obstacle to Creativity

© Stanislav Komogorov / PhotoXpress

This past week, with the filming of my first comedy project in 6 years, I’ve been reminded just how exhilarating it is to create stuff.

It makes you come alive. It inspires others. And it builds communities.

Yet as we grow older, many of us seem to forget this power within us. We forget that we are actually creators at heart.

We are creators as kids. We build sand castles, we draw, paint, and play musical instruments. We are encouraged to explore our creativity.

But as we grow up, the focus changes.

We are encouraged to focus less on creative things, and more on being “realistic”. University and careers dominate during this phase.

And eventually this becomes our default setting.

We stop creating.

And then we encourage those around us to do the same.

Consider your reaction when someone comes to you with an idea about something (maybe a novel, film, or business idea).

What do you do?

Do you tell them why they shouldn’t do it? Do you tell them why it won’t work? Do you shoot down their idea before it’s had a chance to grow?

And what about your creative ideas?

Do you do the same? Do you discourage yourself? Are others’ voices drowning out yours?

If so, it’s not too late to change.


Because humanity is at its best when we create things.

Look around you.

Almost everything has been created by somebody.

That chair you’re sitting on.

The device you’re reading this article on.

The clothes you’re wearing (you ARE wearing clothes, right…?).

You get the point.

The world is full of creators.

So either start creating something, or actively encourage those who do.

Ideally, do both. The world needs it.

About Adam Johnstone

Adam Johnstone s the founder and writer of Encouragement from a Stranger. He believes in the importance of encouraging people to think, question things, and live life on their own terms. Or something like that...


  1. Nicely stated. Restarting our creativity in later life is really about rediscovering our inner child, rekindling that sense of wonder without preconceptions and overcoming all the “I can’t because ______” barriers we build up over a lifetime. What helped me a lot years ago was to practice at and then remember to get out of the way of myself and let the ideas flow without a critic. Doesn’t always work, but often enough to keep me creating (and encouraging others – as you point out above). So important, especially with kids.