3 Toxins that kill creativity

Creativity is the most sought-after human skill in this era. Organizations are training their employee on divergent thinking and rewarding out-of-the-box ideas. Parents are evaluating schools based on their ability to invoke imagination and inventiveness in their kids.

A number of researches support the fact that creativity is an element of every human brain that can be stimulated at any point in life. We have examples ranging from very young creative inventors to people who come up with brilliant ideas in the later part of their life.  

If creativity is an inherent feature of human brain, then why some people are unable to switch on their creative side of the brain and stay confined to logical thinking? Most of the time it is because of three toxins, Guilt, Shame and Fear, which restrain the thinking to shift from logical to creative part of the brain.

Three Toxins that Kill Creativity
Three Toxins that Kill Creativity

Guilt is one of the toxins that stops the brain from activating its creative circuit. It is the discomforting and haunting feeling that is associated with the past experiences like guilt of messing up things in the past. Reminding people (particularly kids) of their poor performance and failures not only stops them from thinking creatively but also affects their self-esteem.

Shame is more associated with the present or near past. It’s the feeling of humiliation a person suffers when others disapprove of their action or ideas. It stops a person from expressing themself openly. The person starts perceiving the environment and people around him as hostile, which forces him to reject his ideas that are different from others, without getting feedback from them. 

One of the acronyms for Fear is “False Expectations Appearing Real”, which means to be afraid of some negative outcome down the road in future that has a very little or no chance of happening. This only hold us back from taking risks. It is the fear of failure that stops us from dreaming and trying new things, making us stick to the traditional ways. 

A supportive environment, which is free of these toxins, nurtures creativity. In addition to our professional life, creativity is equally important in our personal life as well. It fuels self-improvement and empowers us to live a more fulfilling life. Creative persons are reported to have high self-esteem.

This article first appeared at

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