Imagine a stream filled with many restrictions, dams, or impediments. A stream of such nature would be considered a trammeled stream. In what ways do these trammels affect the stream – the ecosystems depend upon it? The natural flow of the currents? The overall usefulness and effectiveness of the stream? A trammeled stream is essentially rendered useless until such blocks and restrictions are lifted.
In the same way, our minds can often be filled with mental blocks, or trammels. Such mental blocks, whether they affect our creativity or professionalism are not only frustrating but can also be considered detrimental. They often leave us feeling stuck, confused, and immovable.
Being consistently prolific in your creative work is not an abnormality. In fact, prolific creativity is – or can be – your norm. You can experience flow in your work, increase your creative output, and enjoy the overall work process. In order to do so, you have to make it possible by clearing the way for your brain to make those connections (between parts of your brain, and between the bits of knowledge that your brain accumulates) required for creativity.
To increase your productivity and creativity, you’ve probably learned a lot about rituals and habits, creating a healthy workspace, and using the right tools. These are all healthy tools to learn. However, if you focus only on the external components of productive creativity, and neglect the internal issues – those mental blocks – you’ll find yourself stuck in the same place over and over again.
Mental blocks, or the trammels of our mind, can include but are not limited to:
· Indecisiveness – “I’m not sure what to do”
· Having a fixed mindset – “My capabilities have certain limits that cannot be overcome”
· Self-doubt/the imposter syndrome – “Do I really have what it takes?”
· Uncertainty – “I think this may be what I want…”
· Comparison – “I’ll never measure up to their level of success”
· Feeling indestructible – “I have no limits”
· Having tunnel vision – “I will not seek anything other than what is already in front of me”
This then begs the question: How do you overcome such trammels of the mind? To start this process, it’s best to begin by uncovering and identifying the causes of such trammels. These can usually be found within examining your personality tendencies as well as your core values. For example, if you struggle with self-doubt, how would that show up in your personality and values? Maybe you value humility and honesty but also tend to lean towards perfectionism. As a result, you may struggle giving yourself credit for a personal achievement or not recognizing an achievement as much if it falls short of perfection.
The next step would be to begin removing the trammels. It’s possible that these trammels have existed in your mind for a long time. Does that make them immovable? Certainly not. To begin moving them takes a certain amount of mindfulness and self-discipline. It helps to become self-aware of your self-talk and then analyzing when you first heard yourself speak to yourself in such a way. Who was the first person to say this to you? Where did it come from? What was the situation? What evidence do you have that disproves this to be true?
Once you begin removing the trammels of your mind, you want to be careful with how much power you give them. While they do serve a purpose in your mind, what percentage do you feel comfortable having them influence your creativity? Assigning a percentage is essentially assigning a limit as to how much control they have over you.
Lastly, some trammels have the potential to become your powerful allies in prolific creativity. Negative feelings or responses can make you more empathetic to others who have the same experiences. Empathy helps you become a better communicator and listener. What steps would you have to take to turn your trammels into a positive, powerful tool?