Inspire, develop & celebrate creativity

Idea Fear: Ideophobia

Why do people fear creativity? While most people say they welcome new ideas, evidence suggests otherwise. There are many reasons to explain this disconnect.

While it may seem as though creative people are revered and admired, the reality is that many people fear those who think, do and feel just a bit differently from the rest of us. never-think-outside-the-box1While we adore talented musicians, society tends to fear their intensity, their obsession and their risk taking tendencies. To understand why people fear creatives, it is important to understand the psychology behind the phenomenon.

Why Do People Fear Ideas?

There have been shown that creative students are less liked than their peers in primary school by both the other students and their teachers. This is often explained by that creative students tend to be more “disruptive.” They question everything, and their brain is not satisfied with accepting things at face value. This can drive teachers insane, especially in situations that require blind compliance without question.

Fear of Creativity Continues Through Life

Creative people has less fear of rejection, and are more likely to challenge the status quo, question authority and buck the system. This can make them somewhat unpopular in some workplaces which often values uniformity. Many creative OR creativity minded people face the danger of losing their jobs because of this general restlessness and pattern of “different” thinking. They are often bored with traditional work and many go on to start their own firms, produce their own original works and cultivate their talents.

Seth Godin writes in: “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The lizard brain is hungry, scared, angry, and horny. The lizard brain only wants to eat and be safe.

The lizard brain is not merely a concept. It’s real, and it’s living on the top of your spine, fighting for your survival. But, of course, survival and success are not the same thing. The lizard brain is the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t do all the art you can, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance.”

People Fear the Unknown

Most people fear the unknown and are more comfortable in their safe zones. This makes people fear creative people who draw their inspiration from risk taking and probing into the “what ifs” of life. They explore things that are inspiring OR inspiration focused, and this can make them fall out of favor with their more “traditional” friends who want to play it safe. H.P. Lovecraft writes “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”.

The two most common reasons to kill an idea is:

  • It has never been done before
  • It has been done before

Creative people do, think and feel differently. With less of the fear that holds most people back. Talented minds in art, music and writing goes against the grain and decides to do things their own way.

Be fearless, and give others creative freedom from fear.