Handling Anxiety to Unlock Your Inventive Potential
by Edward Lakatis
Anxiety is a word that, more often than not, makes us think of fear. This is anything but surprising, given the alarmingly high incidence of anxiety disorders in the United States alone. Getting an anxiety disorder makes one qualified to be put on prescription medication – in other words, becoming a patient.
However, anxiety has a certain positive, even promising side to it, provided it is channeled in the right direction. Today, a significant number of experts believe that anxiety can serve as a precursor of inventiveness, provided it is released from the fears that inhibit an individual’s creativity.
Following are some common factors associated with anxiety that can hinder your inventive potential. Handling these fears, therefore, defines the road to success with your inventiveness.
The Fear of the Unknown
Confidence is a key element of success built upon creativity. But if you fear the unknown, which is one of the common experiences associated with anxiety, your confidence is undermined. In their article Reclaim Your Creative Confidence, published in Harvard Business Review (December 2012), Tom Kelley and David Kelley list “fear of the messy unknown” as one of the four main kinds of fears that lead people away from the creativity circle and into the category of the “non-creative”. The root of this fear is in the instinctive reluctance to see the unexpected, to be in unfamiliar territory.
As experts tell, there is no way of getting over this fear except by actually stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing the novel, the unexplored world of ideas and related activities. Of course, you don’t have to dive into deep waters without a life jacket on. So a good solution is to join a group that has experience in the field of ideas design. With guidance and professional help, it becomes much easier to hit the road not taken before.
The Fear of Failure
One of the most common forms of anxiety is the fear of failing. In his book Mastering Creative Anxiety, America’s well-known creativity coach and author Dr. Eric Maisel regards the fear of failure as one of the most common fears plaguing people’s lives. He rightly points to the fact that artistic people often fail to figure out why they can’t create on command.
This kind of anxiety of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, undermining the conception and development of ideas for inventions or other creative projects. It is important to redefine failure to unlock your inventive potential. For all practical purposes, fearing failure is the first step in fearing success. Pursue your inventive idea; if it doesn’t lead you where you had dreamed, it surely will add a track to your experiential map to help you get to your destination faster the next time you set out for your inventive journey.
The Fear of Saying ‘No’
Peer pressure is a common psychological experience and many of us are “obligated” to say “no” in a situation where we don’t feel like complying or approving something. This kind of psychological pressure is anti-creative and, in turn, a barrier to success of your inventive ideas.
Edward Lakatis, in his article Important Tips for Inventors, advises readers to say “no” when they have a valid reason for not saying “yes”, especially during meetings where people important to your career – your employer or senior colleagues – expect it. The point is that your anxiety to keep others happy does serve an important purpose, but the same pressure can detract you from capitalizing on your inventive potential. So make sure to say “no”, when it is time to say it.
About the Author
Edward Lakatis is passionate about all things related to invention, and helping other inventors realize their products potentials. He regularly contributes to Idea Design Studio, an invention development and marketing company. More of Edward’s writing can be found on http://ideadesignstudio.com/