Do you fully understand the question?


When we feel creatively stuck – as though we can’t come up with a solution or spark a new idea – more often than not it’s our own doing.

That is to say: many times we are the reason we’re creatively stuck. We give ourselves false constraints or limit ourselves only to what we know and, as it turns out, what we know isn’t fully defined.

One of the best ways to break with feeling creatively stuck is to evaluate whether or not you really understand what it is that you’re trying to do.

You can’t set out to solve a problem if you don’t really understand the problem that you are attempting to solve, for example. To reiterate: if you’re feeling creatively stuck, it could be because you simply aren’t grasping the detail of what it is you’re trying to do.

Of course this is good news for anyone who is creatively stuck, because the solution is a very simple one: take the time to understand what it is you’re trying to do. Do you completely understand the problem to be solved? If you had to describe the new project you’re working on to a stranger, could you do it in five words? What questions do you have about the question you’re trying to answer?

Once you really understand the details of what it is you’re trying to do, you’re more likely to find a capable solution in a more timely manner. Understanding the question is the first place to look for an answer.

So, take the time to fully understand the problem you’re attempting to solve with a new idea and you’ll suddenly find yourself halfway to a solution. As the brilliant Greek philosopher Socrates once insightfully shared: ‎“understanding a question is half an answer.”

Photo by Andrew.