6 Overcome Obstacles to Creativity…

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 6

 How might you overcome personal obstacles to move your ideas to fruition? 
John Brooker with Varsity aircraft at Duxford

JB and AB with Varsity aircraft known as the “pig”

“There are plenty of great ideas out there… but so few people actually do anything about them”

Speaker on “Woman’s Hour” BBC Radio 4

Have you ever had a really great idea for work or personal life but not taken it to fruition?

The quote above came from a lady speaking on the radio. She sought to sponsor a mature woman writer by offering an idyllic place for them to live and write rent free.

She believes that by giving them the chance to get away from their frenetic home environment they can be more creative and productive, that they can produce a book that gets published.

Sadly I was half asleep at the time and didn’t catch her name, but she did set me thinking about the variety of obstacles to creativity that exist within organisations but particularly within us.


I have devised the acronym PIGS to categorise these obstacles: Process, Individual, Group, and Structure. [If anyone would like to fatten up the idea, your thoughts are welcome!]

For this article, I will focus on individual obstacles to being creative. These include:

Premature judgement ~ writing off your ideas before they have a chance to flourish. Step back from judgement, allow the ideas to flow and sleep on them

Lack of belief ~ giving yourself “ten reasons why my idea won’t work”. When you find yourself doing this, sit down and list ten reasons why it will work

Lack of curiosity ~ accepting the first idea that comes in to your mind as the best one. It may not be. Use creative techniques to generate more ideas and then choose the best one

Lack of persistence ~ dropping the idea when you hit the first obstacle. Be prepared to hit obstacles and plan for how you might overcome them. If they are unexpected, step back and think how you might go around them. Commit yourself to others so that it is harder to give up the idea

Lack of persuasion ~ others don’t accept your idea with alacrity. To increase the chances of a warm reception for your idea, look for all the benefits your idea will have for others and sell those. Look for all the possible objections and prepare answers to them

Too much curiosity ~ leaping from new idea to new idea without following through on each of them. To counter this, prioritise and discipline yourself to tackle one idea at a time

Do any of these seem familiar too you?


What great idea have you not followed through on? Could your idea have worked if you had more (but not too much!), curiosity or belief, persistence or persuasion?


Think of something in your life that you thought was a great idea but came to nothing. Have another go at implementing it and see if you can make it work.

To Close

By chance, I attended a course with a leadership company last week. They use horses (not pigs) to help people understand leadership but also to help people with personal issues.

My issue was why do I sometimes not push good ideas through to fruition (now where have I heard that before)? The tutor asked me to pick up the horses hooves for my exercise.

It was a real insight as I struggled, spending too long trying to build rapport with the horse instead of just picking the hoof up, thinking other people’s tactics were better than my own, not getting advice on how to get a horse to raise its hoof, raising the first hoof and then giving up and trying to build rapport again when its weight was on the next foot.

The horse was the perfect metaphor for why I sometimes don’t follow through on ideas. It was with great satisfaction that I eventually picked up all four hooves (one at a time!) and realised I am perfectly capable of following through ideas if only I use the right strategy.

So can you!

PS. I was going to use a photograph of a pig but decided to be a bit more creative. I found this “pig” at Duxford museum in the UK and it was one I actually worked on in the RAF.

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

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