6 Ego Traps That Are Getting In the Way Of Your Creative Potential

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

A hard truth is that some of us get in our own way, one way or another. A big component of that is listening to the lies our ego tell us. Egos don’t always show the clear picture, especially if they’re inflated or bruised. Sometimes we have to take a step back and examine the situation. Start by making sure you aren’t falling victim to any of these ego traps.

“It needs to be perfect.”

That “it” may be the art you’re creating, or your current conditions (I need “this” lighting, “this” computer software, “this” camera, before I can create.) This is an ego trap. Work with what you have and do your best with it. Even if the finished product is not as grandiose as you’ve pictured in your head (ego!) it’s a start, and you’ll eventually get better. You can’t think your way to becoming better at your craft. You have to actually do it.

“I’m afraid of failing.”

The idea that you will never fail in any part of your creative process is an ego trap. Being afraid of failure gives the notion that there is another route you’d rather take, where never failing is an option. There likely isn’t one. You may fail, but as long as you keep trying and learning from that failure, you’re headed in the right direction. People who have tried something and failed are going farther than people who haven’t tried anything due to that fear. The person who tried had the opportunity to grow and learn something from it.

“Nobody is seeing/watching/complimenting me on my work.”

This is hard advice coming from someone whose love language is literally Words of Affirmation, but your creative livelihood cannot depend on what people are saying about you. People are going to have something to say even if your work is near perfect. People say negative things about Beyoncé, but I doubt that’s ever stopped her from doing what she loves. Do what you love, and those who need to catch on, will.

“Everyone in my field is my competition.”

An ego trap. Sure, there are people are doing things close to or even exactly what you do. But you are your only competition. You will never be anyone else, and vice versa, and that’s a good thing. That, and the unique work you create are what sets you apart from anyone else. I’m also a true believer of “what’s meant for you, is for you.” So there’s no reason to be catty or jealous if someone gets an opportunity that you’d like. If you’re doing the best you can and creating consistently, feel secure in that. Also, network! Seeing everyone as competition may be robbing you of potential collaborations and friendships that are mutually beneficial in the long run.

“I need to feel inspired before I start.”

We all create better when we get hit with the creative bug. We’re excited about this new, shiny idea that we want to show the world, and we work hard at doing so. But, after the novelty of the idea wears off, it’s less about feeling inspired, and more about just creative out of habit. Oftentimes, I find that inspiration comes after I’ve forced myself to create something, even if I’m not feeling inspired when I start.

“I don’t need help, advice, or constructive criticism.”

None of us are all-knowing, and it is okay to seek advice, feedback or further knowledge about what you do, whether it comes from a mentor or another resource. Of course, not all criticism is constructive, but if a trusted source gives you constructive feedback, it’s okay to consider it and how it could work for you.

“I should be farther along right now.”

We’ve all thought some variation of this ego trap: “I should be farther along in my creative field by now, I should be more popular, I should be making more money…” whether it is, it could be stifling you, as you feel your “end goal” seems too far away to start. You could be falling into the comparison trap, as you feel like others are surpassing you. Or, you may feel like it’s “too late “to start. It’s not. While you may feel these things, focus on what you can control, and that includes creating.