OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

What prevents you from or gets in the way of your being creative?

Here are some things that we think can be obstacles to being creative:

Photo of LREI 5th Graders
5 8

Written by

  • If a lot of people around you are being negative
  • If people are not cooperating with the creative flow
  • What people think about you
  • Feeling sad
  • Distractions and kidding around
  • My brother and sister
  • Myself
  • Watching TV
  • Not feeling happy
  • Negativity
  • School
  • Non-believers
  • Not having the right materials
  • Haters
  • Thinking it’s wrong
  • Something that seems too hard to make
  • The fact that something might be dangerous
  • Getting aggravated by an idea
  • Sometimes when you do something new you get laughed at or get left out (nobody joins you)
  • Being embarrassed and chickening out
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of creativity
  • When you want to rise your hand, but no one else does
  • Not having the time to do it
  • Walls of anti-creativity
  • If people don’t like your idea
  • Getting mad
  • Messing up
  • Sometimes my age/size gets in the way
  • Being shy
  • Wanting to do something, but someone doesn’t like it or says, “I don’t support you.”
  • No knowing what to make
  • Being scared
  • People disagreeing


Join the conversation:

Photo of Arjan Tupan

Wow, that's an awesome list. Really something we need in this challenge. Just for my understanding, as I'm not from the same educational system as you are: how old are people in the 5th grade?

I think it's really wonderful that you have made this list. And it's also a bit scary that some of the items are still holding people my age back (I assume that at 40, I'm slightly older than you are). Watching tv, haters, being scared. It seems familiar. It would be great if you could also share your thoughts on what could help you overcome these obstacles. Or maybe a list of things that make you feel super creative and proud of the things you've made.

Photo of LREI 5th Graders

Most of us are 10 and 11. Check out for a list of things that helps us to be creative.

Photo of An Old Friend

This is a great list! I found myself organizing the list into two categories, (1) internal thoughts and (2) external pressures. This may help you think about Arjan's question.

Also, earlier today I read an inspirational quote by a famous athlete. I want to share it with you because it relates to creative confidence. In any endeavor, whether it is art or sports, when we experiment and take risk, we must overcome the internal and external barriers from the list above. Try to guess who said this:

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

(hint: Michael Jordan)

Side note: Arjan, the other inspiration, "What Is Creativity" ( mentioned that there are 40 students in the class. It appears that 40 is the magic number! :)

Photo of DeletedUser


I really like this list as I think these are challenges that can be transferred into an adult life. Even those you might not think are the obvious ones like "my age/size gets in the way" - that indeed can be a great issue still. I think adults should try this exercise as well to be sure they are aware of those creativity-blocking factors.

Photo of DeletedUser


Great to see input from kids!