I love this insight, from one of my business school professors, Loren Nordgren, and his co-author, University of Chicago Professor Brian J. Lucas.
They compared how many creative ideas people came up with in a brain-storming session with how many they thought they could come up with. The study found that people consistently come up with more ideas than they expect. Not only that, but the ideas got better as they kept working.
As they say in the paper: “Our studies suggest that people may underestimate their creative potential in everyday creative tasks and that people may leave creative ideas on the table by failing to invest in persistence.”
Persistence isn’t easy, of course. And it doesn’t feel like it’s bearing any fruit while you’re in the midst of the difficult work. But that’s where your best work happens, where you can grow.
My lesson: stay encouraged, and keep working–you probably have more creative ideas in you than you think.