“Action is its own authority.”
When you begin a new habit, struggle abounds. The early days of learning a craft are filled with tedium. Fortunately, a clear time frame helps. It gives you a framework that reminds you of the purpose driving your actions.
Reaching the 30-day mark initiates you into a higher level of trust in your self and your skill sets. What at first seemed boring or difficult will involve much less friction. Over time, you’ll recognize that consistency is the key to growth, not talent.
I’ve compiled three of my favorite personal development challenges. These trick your…
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield encourages readers to see resistance as an enemy. It’s a dark force that undermines creative efforts. It encourages focus on an outcome at the expense of a process.
While writer’s block is an impenetrable wall, resistance is a pest. Annoying, yes, but it’s something we can negotiate with. Interestingly, Pressfield implies that resistance is inherent to the creative process.
I disagree. It isn’t that resistance tags along with all creative efforts. Rather, most people use creative work, whether they know it or not, to resolve an early wound. …
The industrial system produces disempowered people. Most adults train children to meet deadlines, pass tests, and please others. We’re bred to become employees or managers, not autonomous people eager to create. We learn to value compliance and validation more than personal freedom or sovereignty.
Empowerment is about de-conditioning yourself from limiting beliefs and mass-media brainwashing. It comes when you identify the behaviors that lead to corrosive inner conversations and put a stop to them. When you learn to trace a thought process to its reverberations in your life, you win. …
Re-write your inner life by deconstructing it.
If there’s something you want to achieve, you’ll negotiate with two distinct versions of yourself. One part becomes excited thinking of this thing. This part of you can name several reasons for pursuing it.
As a creative person, you’ve also encountered another version of yourself. This part feels resistance, insurmountable blocks, and dread around the same pursuit.
With creative blocks, resistance, and bad moods, you have two choices. Either you’ll act in spite of your feelings or you’ll give up, telling yourself that you’re not ready to act.
If you decide to act…
If you’re interested in personal transformation, sometimes you’re brimming with enthusiasm and motivation. In elevated states, you make promises to yourself. You form intentions, author plans, and talk about your goals. Your desires feel so potent that you can’t imagine anything getting in their way.
Two days later, your forehead veins are tight and inflamed. Those plans go hollow. Last night, you were excited about your work, but now you’re tired. Hungry. Cranky. You’re distracted by heightened anticipation about what will happen in the next hour. Most people are familiar with the experience of becoming alienated from an intention that…
The capacity to re-frame circumstances so that you arrive at an interpretation that inspires ease, trust, and motivation is a super power. Re-framing discouraging thoughts into insights that are forward moving is synonymous with the ability to re-experience reality.
However, re-framing, like all powerful tools, must be wielded carefully. The re-framing impulse is useful only when it’s paired with the willingness to integrate the negative emotions you want to re-envision.
Without the desire to understand your darker emotions, they persist in the background and generate resistance that slowly but surely corrodes those positive re-frames you’re attempting to cultivate. Here’s why.
“A great many years ago I purchased a fine dictionary. The first thing I did was turn to the word “impossible,” and neatly clip it out of the book. That would not be an unwise thing for you to do.”
Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich distills his learnings after interviewing over 500 millionaires. His intent was to create a success formula utilizable by anyone.
Hill suggests that “thoughts are things.” When they’re mixed with purpose, persistence, and most importantly, a burning desire, they’re translated into their material equivalent.
The book is more than a manual for getting rich…
“But ordinarily we do not discover the wisdom of our feelings because we do not let them complete their work; we try to suppress them or discharge them in premature action, not realizing that they are a process of creation which, like birth, begins as pain and turns into a child.” — Alan Watts
Known as the acoustic umbilical cord, crying in infancy is only a vocal signal. It’s not until later that humans shed tears.
Intriguingly, humans are the only animal to cry for emotional reasons. Such a unique display of feeling suggests that crying plays a meaningful role…
Awaken the parts of you that lie dormant
The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said that all learning was a form of remembering. The immortal soul knew everything, he thought, only to forget it at the moment of birth. Life experiences, Socrates said, were a matter of remembering rather than discovering.
Within this paradigm is an opportunity for a fresh perspective on the challenges and excitements life presents.
Taking seriously Socrates’ idea will enable you to remain persistent without friction. It can also help you navigate feelings of alienation from the past or uncertainty about the future. …
With creative production, you’ve got roughly two paths to choose from: you can be perfect or prolific. Perfectionism is appealing and safe. Being precious about what you release into the world saves you from cringing two weeks from now as you read an article filled with half-formed conclusions.
When you fear that you’ll put too much time and effort into something and get no results from it, being prolific can feel instinctively wrong.
But what’s truly better? Having a large body of imperfect work, or one or two really great essays? The former is better. …