‘Who do you think you are?’ is the name of a TV series getting people to trawl through their family history to unearth new information about their forebears and cast a different light on who they are on the back of it.
It implies you are the sum of generations rolled up and reincarnated into a model of baggage and inherited personas. Think of your hang ups. Do you procrastinate, doubt yourself, live in fear, pray for the end of the week, compare yourself negatively with others, put up with naysayers, people please, put yourself down, etc etc? Wherever all that stuff came from (blame the ancestors if you like) it is certainly not helping you now. Is it possible to cast off the shadow and reinvent a new you?
Imagine not feeling those things? Imagine waking up in the morning and saying like President Obama “Yes I can?” With New Year’s Resolutions we promise ourselves a mental make-over, but unfortunately sheer will power usually isn’t man or woman enough for the job. You need to get creative to upscale your mindset. Creative thinking will trick your deeply entrenched resistance into shedding the shackles of years of self-sabotage.
How does it work? Well it’s basis is in anti-logic. The usual solutions haven’t done the trick, so you have to get cunning. Resistance thinks ‘can’t’- creative thinking does something out of the blue, beyond the pail, something ridiculous or subverted or upside down. It spins our brain and our patterns of behaviour and our damaging beliefs, out of orbit and into a place where ‘Can’ is actually possible.
The two words we coaches hear more often than anything (yes to our ears they are swear words! ) are : “Yeah but…” When we hear them we know that person is wallowing in the mudflats of misery and will bat you away with the deftness of a hippopotamus’s tail swatting flies.
“Yeah but I’m not creative, yeah but I’m no good at that, yeah but I’m not qualified, yeah but I’m a woman in a man’s world, yeah but I’m too old, yeah but I’m working class, yeah but I’m not clever enough, yeah but I’m shy, yeah but I’m broke, yeah but…” The yeah-butters are very creative in finding reasons to not change or transform themselves even when they say they want to. The yeah-butters put their energy into the treadmill of resistance. What they are really saying is “I have decided it is not possible”.
But there is very little that you can’t get around somehow, if you choose to. Beethoven had gone completely deaf when he wrote his 9th Symphony. The great photorealist painter Chuck Close was paralysed so badly by a blood clot on the spine that he couldn’t even pick up a paint brush. He had his paintbrush strapped to his wrist and he developed a new technique in paintings. His work became even more successful than before. I bet no one heard either Beethoven or Close say “Yeah but…”
And then when you’ve won the battle against yourself, you run headlong into the frontline of Naysayers who hide behind the shields of “we don’t want to see you fail, we’re only thinking of your best interests, we don’t want you to get hurt, we’re only trying to protect you, we don’t want you to humiliate yourself.” The list goes on. If they were people who had become immensely successful and happy on the back of this fearful approach, then by all means it would be ok to listen to their concerns. But they’re not. Do you think Richard Branson took any notice of Naysayers proclaiming that setting up an airline was madness? I imagine the only voices he listened to were the ones saying “why the hell not?” And now he owns an Island in the Carribean. I doubt those Naysayers are his neighbours.
If those negative voices are your own or someone else’s put up a big STOP sign and work on some creative strategies to turn around the yeah-buts and discard the naysayers:
7 Ways to “Yes!”
- For every yeah-but write down 10 reasons it could work out
- Write down the consequences of staying the same
- Think of the people you admire who have achieved great things, imagine the naysayers they met along the way and what yeah butting things those naysayers would have said. Write them down and then do what your hero did and throw them away.
- Research 5 successful people and find out how many rejections they had along the way. Make a colourful collage of all the rejections you’ve received and turn it into a Mandela for never giving up.
- Spend the day pretending you are already doing thing you want to do or being the person you want to be.
- Put yourself in a different context or with different people. It shifts your perspective.
- Focus on what you love doing and are happy to apply yourself to day in and day out. That is the only way to get good at something. Naysayers will have a hard time stopping you from doing what you love.
‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do’ Bob Dylan
If you need some help transforming your thinking or you are stuck in a groove, get yourself a Creative Thinking Coach. Email Lou@createlab.co.uk
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