Your mind is consumed with all of the things you can’t control: the future, the pandemic, your kids.
You’re not doing anything productive, moving the needle in any positive way. You’re just wallowing in the unknown.
Instead focus your thoughts on the present, what you can do right now. Do the things that matter, that can make a difference.
Do your work the best you can. Learn something to better yourself a little bit everyday. Stay vigilant and care for your health. Teach your children, love them.
For example, if you blog and want to become a successful blogger, stop worrying about how you’re going to get there. Start writing a post that will change someone’s perspective, improve their day, make them laugh.
Focus on today, the things you can control. If you pray, pray. And let the future sort itself out.
And you’ll likely be surprised by what the tomorrow will bring. You might even become rich.
If anything, you’ll have more peace.
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Failing isn’t just failure. It’s a sign that you are trying, attempting—alive.
When you fail, it doesn’t mean you’re silly or a loser or even a failure. No. It says you tried doing something outside of your comfort zone. It means you’re an explorer, adventurer, believer. You’re courageous.
You know that life isn’t just about living or staying alive. It’s about feeling alive, pushing yourself beyond your limits, growing.
Failure is just a part of the growth process. So don’t quit because you made a mistake, faltered, or failed miserably.
Get back up and see that this is the path you trod to gain great things, a greater you.
Growth happens when we try something new. But starting that new thing can be difficult; sometimes it feels impossible. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can break free and grow in ways you never thought possible by doing this.
Sometimes to make creative work, the thing we need most is this. Rest.
You’re at your desk, sweating (metaphorically) and pounding away (literally) trying to get a good idea, but the only thing you produce is nothing. “Maybe I just need to work harder,” you might say to yourself. And still, nothing happens. So you do the only thing left to do—despair.
Maybe you’ve been there. I have.
Creating is hard work. And cracking the whip harder on ourselves isn’t effective. Or worse, it’s counterproductive.
That’s just when you need to say no to your inner medieval monk and throw away the whip. Then, roll your chair back, step away from your desk, and go for a walk, get a donut and coffee, or, better yet, go skydiving or horseback riding. If you’ve never meditated, try it. Why not? It’s scientifically known to help your brain operate better, heal even. If that’s not your cup of tea, have a cup of tea. Or visit your local museum. Get moved by others’ creativity. Whatever you do, get away from your work. The farther you go, the better.
And in those moments of being away, your mind will be recovering and working without you even trying. Often it’s when we are resting and having fun that the best ideas hit us. Inspiration strikes when we least expect it—like love. It can’t be forced. It can only be fostered, wooed. So take yourself on a nice date. Play. Laugh. Enjoy.
And when you return to your desk, you won’t be sweating and pounding.
Uninterrupted time is the fodder for creativity. As yeast is to bread, solitude is to the creative process—essential.
Without the quiet moments and lingering stillness, words that move us wouldn’t be as moving, paintings that stir us wouldn’t be as stirring, inventions that help us wouldn’t be as helpful.
Creation best happens in the quiet while you are lost in your thoughts, connecting disparate ideas, forming new ones. That occurs when no one else is stirring, during the twilight mornings before the dawn breaks or long after others are fast asleep. When they rest, you work.
You seek silence because you know that’s when inspiration roars.
It’s in those moments, you get lost in the matter at hand, discovering a deep satisfaction, mesmerized by the task, as you enter a state of flow; and it’s just you and the work, dancing freely.
Being alone can be more than just productive; it has been known to produce tears, weeping even. We can’t be isolated for too long. We are meant to be with others, connected.
Yet, solitude helps us connect with humanity differently. It may not be like grabbing coffee with a friend, looking into their eyes as they speak, hugging them as they go; it’s a different kind of connection. What we create enters into the meta-conversation. It’s making a statement to the world. It’s the act of handing others something useful, compelling, beautiful.
Everyone laughed, and I was the butt of the joke. I hated it. But I realized something about life.
A group of us sat around a large circular dining table, and a newly married couple started talking about how they met. It was a great story with surprising twists and turns. And then a guy shared about him and his girlfriend and how he wasn’t sure how it was going to work out. So I said something from my story to comfort him. It was revealing and somewhat vulnerable. But I thought it would help him, so I put myself out there. Then he turned it around and made it into a joke about me–and everyone laughed heartily.
It felt like being kids on the playground, except we were in our thirties and forties. It was silly, but real.
It’s most introverts nightmare—to be outed, and publicly, and I’m an introvert. The embarrassment didn’t show on my face. But it was there, along with disappointment and disdain.
Afterward, as I played the moment over in my head more times than I’d like to admit, I was tempted to stop opening myself up to others. It seemed futile, useless. But truth be told, the utility had nothing to do with my reaction; I just wanted to protect myself.
And I realized that I shouldn’t let any person stop me from giving of myself, being vulnerable, sharing my story—even the revealing parts—and living as I ought. Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly (affiliate), writes that vulnerability is fundamental to our being.
“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.”
We shouldn’t let others stop us from sharing our lives, opening our hearts, living with purpose. The cost is too high: we would lose you.
You have ideas, insights, knowledge, feelings, stories that can impact those around you for good. They are the inner workings you’ve been ruminating on over the years. Share them. Yes, someone may make you the butt of their joke; they may transport you back to middle school. But that doesn’t diminish the great value you can give to the world. Give generously.