When it comes to creativity, we are our own worst enemies.

As silly as it may sound, creativity really does come from the ability to free our minds from suffocating constraints. Some of those constraints may be coming from external interference, but many of them are strongly imposed on us by ourselves.

Overcoming mental roadblocks may involve a bit of an introspective journey, but it’s not anything you can’t work past.

1. Never Compare Yourself

If you perceive Susie Q being 10 times better than you, you’re likely wrong. She’s 10 times better at what she does, not 10 times better at what you do, and that’s very important to remember. She’s simply found the mastery of her methods, and you’ll need to find the mastery of your own.

Susie does what Susie does, and you do what you do. It won’t ever be the same.

2. Develop Your Own Path To Success

You aren’t going to be able to climb to the top using someone else’s ladder. Some opportunities happen by being in the right place at the right time, and failures can occur the same way.

If there was any one path to success that worked every time, everyone would be wildly successful. Remaining in someone else’s shadow won’t challenge you, and it won’t get you very far.

In doing so, you’re denying yourself the ability to think outside of the box and develop an innovative process that’s beneficial to your creativity.

3. Handling Criticism

At one point or another, everyone is subjected to harsh criticism. This can be a very discouraging experience, but you can’t let it bother you.

In many circumstances, criticism has more to do with the individual who is doing the criticizing, instead of you on the receiving end. Anger, frustration, or stress from an external source can be passed on to you as critique that you didn’t necessarily deserve.

Don’t become more reserved and fill yourself with doubt after a bad experience with negative criticism. Instead, turn it into something constructive.

4. Boost Your Confidence

There’s a difference between second-guessing yourself and being blatantly full of self-doubt. If you don’t believe you can do something, you’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that you’ll never be able to escape.

This doesn’t mean you should exaggerate or overestimate your abilities, but rather that you should have a clear and realistic understanding of what you’re capable of, and use that understanding to your creative advantage.

5. Broaden Your Horizons

Setting out to do only one specific thing may make it seem easier to direct your focus in a productive direction, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What you’re doing is artificially imposing limits on yourself that can stifle any new discoveries or processes that may be beneficial to you.

You may love your comfort zone, but people who are comfortable for too long get complacent. Complacent people are happy keeping things the way they are, and don’t move on to bigger and better things.

Remember to challenge yourself as often as possible. Do things you know that you can’t do, and things you’ve never tried before. You’ll sharpen skills and acquire new ones, and you can do a lot more with a full toolbox than you can with just a hammer and a wrench.

There’s no way to know unless you try. Let yourself run free and entertain more creative whims to see what you really can do.

Guide to Inspired Life