Although this week we’re looking  at ways to nurture inspiration—the grandparent of ideas—it’s equally important to consider the factors that shut off creative thinking. As Dr. Phil likes to point out, you can’t solve a problem you don’t acknowledge. What makes it even easier for these idea stoppers to have their way with us is the fact that they have a way of becoming habitual behaviors so we might not connect them with low creative output. What are the villains?

* Devotion to routine. We’re trained, from the moment we enter kindergarten, to put ourselves on a regimented schedule. Doing the same thing, at the same time, in the same place, day in and day out, can weaken our creative muscles. While some schedule is essential to getting things done, unscheduled time is valuable as well.

* Low commitment. When we’re committed to an idea or eager to find a solution, we swing into action. Without genuine commitment, it’s tempting to abandon ideas at the first tiny challenge.

* Talking instead of doing. Talking about what we’re going to do some day does not produce the same outcome as acting on our ideas does. It can be helpful to have a joyfully jobless friend who keeps us accountable.

* Not valuing our own ideas. Most of us have memories—hidden or not—of a childhood experience sharing an idea with an adult who knocked the wind out of our sails. Sad as that may be, it’s up to us to volunteer to be nurturing caretakers for the ideas that are ours.

* Asking the wrong questions. Share an idea with a dreambasher and the chances are great that their response will be, “How are you going to do that?” When we lack confidence, “how” questions can be a powerful tool for sabotage. Learning to ask idea-generating questions is a skill worth mastering. As writer Tom Robbins points out, “The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life.”

* Cynicism, sarcasm, negativity, laziness, arrogance.

$100 Hour: Organize a tour. (Part 2) Several people I know with strong passions for a place or a subject, have successfully organized tours abroad. If you want to share your passion for Greek islands or Spanish tiles, there are certainly others who would love to tag along. Find a travel agent or company that will work with you to organize your tour. In exchange for marketing, you can receive a free trip. You can also, of course, include your fee in the tour price. A focused, specialty tour offers the be possibilities to concentrate on planning a trip around your area of expertise.

Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that  makes a difference. ~ Nolan Bushnell