There is a bit of Dougal in all of us.

father-dougal-mcguireResistance doesn’t think, “how can I use the fear of failure or the fear of success to stall her from working.”

It thinks, “how can I use the fear of failure and the fear of success.”

If we were afraid of only failure then we would be able to justify working using success. So if I think “I might look stupid but at least I could help one person see something fresh”, then it’s worth it.

So resistance evolves to include the fear of success too.

“If this goes well I may be asked to take on more responsibility, which I’m not ready for” or
“If this post gets people talking and coming back I’ll need to write something just as good or even better”.

Notice how the fear of success quickly turns into the fear of failure.

We might need to come up with other great ideas, or we might need to surprise ourselves.

The good news is that this frees us up to be generous. When we focus on the potential failure or success we are focusing mainly on ourselves. We’re afraid of looking stupid or getting people’s hopes up and then feeling stupid when we let them down or make a mistake.

The antithesis to this is generosity where the only goal is to give without expectation of anything in return. You can’t feel stupid if you don’t care.

I can write a blog post that resonates with people and that’s fantastic so I work to make that happen again. But I do so by simply doing the work and putting it out there because it’s the right thing to do.

Whether it connects or not isn’t so important; it’s part of the active strategy to keep being generous.

Surprisingly though when we keep doing that, eventually something sticks. Something you write encourages someone or even better, the hope to do their own work. If you stop being generous eventually you’ll become so self obsessed and paralyzed with fear that you stop working altogether.

And your work is far too important to us to let that happen.

Matthew McConaughey: Winners and workers.

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Last night Matthew McConaughey won the award for the best Actor at the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes are generally considered an accurate indicator for the winners at the Academy Awards.

He has received plaudits for his role as a homophobic aids patient in Dallas Buyers’s Club and now is winning best actor awards. His new tv show True Detectives has also been getting a lot of attention.

But this is the same Matthew McConaughey who made Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Which wasn’t very good. The same Matthew McConaughey who is famous for making average Romantic comedies in the 90’s or taking his top off or winning most sexiest man alive awards.

These are the kind of things he is famous for. Continue reading

The greatest lesson I learned about being creative.

Sitting down everyday to write and facing a blank page is one of the hardest things to do as a writer. There is so much space to fill and so little to fill it with. If you face a blank canvass you can be sure that resistance will come along and fill it for you.

Anything to stop you creating.

There is one way to beat resistance. Continue reading

Fear V Courage

Fear works like this.

Something is presented to us that is unknown. This can be a person, an activity, a place, an idea, a job, a community, a thought.

As long as it is unknown to us it can create fear.

Fear then turns into worry and stress and the perception of a threat to our way of living.

This can lead to anger, attacks, prejudice and avoidance.

This then becomes how we react to anything new and it becomes a condition we live in.

Then we stall.

Courage works like this. Continue reading

No time like the present.

It is never too late to start… but start today.

A great quote from Ricky Gervais.

If you have a dream or a challenge you want to face down you can still achieve it. It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 60. If you are in anyway spiritual you probably believe in second chances. Or third and fourth. So bring your belief into real life.

What’s really stopping you?

Not enough time? Not enough money? Not good enough?

Then get up early. Ask for money. Practice.

There are no real good excuses.

But don’t leave it. Don’t wait until you have more of those things to pursue it. There is no time like the present is a cliché but more so it is truth. Because tomorrow will still be too soon if you delay. If you think that today is not the right time what difference will it be when you think about starting tomorrow?

Tomorrow will be a today soon enough.

At the end of the day it all comes back to fear.

What are you afraid of?

Failing? Succeeding? Or never knowing?

If you’re afraid of anything make it the last.

Journaling and Scales. The Art of warming up.

I tweeted earlier that  journaling is to writing what practicing scales is to playing music. Not only does it warm up my fingers but it also warms up my brain. I can just start writing and not worry about the content or the punctuation. I don’t care about spelling or whether I uses the right version of your or you’re (Your probably not going to notice anyway).  It’s just a way of getting started because we all know that starting is the hard part.

But journaling creates something new that engages the brain, that brings about the muse and gives us ideas. It’s a way of getting into the flow. This post started with some random thoughts. The core of this blog was already written before I even started trying properly.

Resistance tells me not to journal because it will distract me from ‘real’ writing. But if I am not ‘real’ writing then I may at least ‘journal’ write. If nothing good comes of it that’s ok. If it is rubbish, it’s ok because I am doing the work. I showed up and I got it done.

Mozart probably didn’t need to practice much. He was born with music growing in his mind. Messi was born with a ball attached to his feet. Most of us aren’t like that and we need to work at it. That doesn’t mean you are weak. It just means you are like nearly almost everyone else.

You want to get readers then you have to write. You want to make a great presentation to a lot of people  then you have to make a  great presentation to 20 people. You want to play at Wimbledon then you have to get out and at least hit some serves. You didn’t hit a serve in? That’s ok. You showed up. And you will again tomorrow too.

Then you will start hitting serves in.

And then you will start hitting aces.