Creativity is a gift. Unfortunately, few of us use it to the best of our ability. Humans are creative by nature. Your ancestors wouldn’t have survived without creativity. You are creative, even if you haven’t experienced it yet. One of the biggest obstacles to creativity is the belief that you’re not creative!

Creativity is a very personal process. Anything produced via your creativity almost feels like it was born from you. It’s common to be apprehensive when sharing something so personal. Bravery alone can allow you to be more creative.

Enhance your creativity by avoiding these common obstacles

1. Distractions are the biggest obstacles to any creative process. If you want to focus on just one tip, this is the one. There are two ways to deal with distractions: eliminate them or improve your ability to focus despite them. A two-pronged approach is best.

* Remove as many distractions from your work area as possible. It’s possible to improve your ability to ignore distractions with practice.

2. A lack of purpose. Be clear on what you’re attempting to create. Have a clear vision and a purpose. Be targeted in your approach.

3. A lack of practice. You get better at being creative through practice. You can’t expect to be highly creative if you haven’t created anything in the last five years. Stretch your creative muscles on a regular basis.

4. Negative self-talk is another obstacle. This leads to a fear of failure and procrastination. When you doubt yourself, your creativity is compromised. Replace your negative self-talk with something more positive. You can also ignore the negative things you say to yourself and press on.

5. A lack of sleep or nutrition. You might find your creativity enhanced when you’re comfortably tired or have an empty stomach. In most cases, the opposite is true. Get enough sleep and eat properly if you want your creativity powers at full power.

6. The need to be perfect. Creating is ugly. Most ideas don’t work and aren’t even remotely useful. That’s okay. The first draft of anything is usually not the best, whether you’re writing a novel, painting a picture, or developing a business strategy. The need to be perfect is an excuse to procrastinate. Worry about perfecting your idea in the future. Now isn’t the time.

7. Expecting creation to be easy. If you can consistently create something valuable, you can count yourself among the richest people in the world. Creation is hard work, and there’s a lot of failure along the way. Expect the process to be challenging and you’ll rarely be disappointed. Embrace the challenge and push yourself.

8. Being too practical. The best ideas often require outside-the-box thinking. Avoid being too practical at the beginning of the creative process. Dare to be outrageous and consider a few offbeat ideas.

* The most creative people in history were ridiculed and considered crackpots.

9. Doubting your ability to be creative. Everyone is more creative than they’ll ever need to be. Some are more aware of this fact than others. If you label yourself as lacking creativity, your ability to be creative is severely compromised. You’re already creative, but you need to believe it to make the most of it.

Avoiding these common obstacles will help to unleash the creativity that resides inside of you. You are creative because you are human. To deny your creativity is to deny part of what makes you a human being. Unleash your creativity on the world and surprise yourself in the process. You’ll be amazed by what you can do.