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Dominating Thoughts and Achieving

12 Mar

law-of-attraction

 

Two weeks ago, a forceful crisis of confidence took hold and set me back about six weeks in terms of my writing. I spent a sorry week restructuring my story, reworking my scenes, changing the plot direction and the fundamental motivations of my characters. As I worked frantically to resolve the issues that arose in my manuscript, I began to seriously doubt that my story had any other value beyond being a story that I felt compelled to write and that I wanted to read as a reader. Failure seeped into my thoughts and I became so anxious at the thought that perhaps I had dedicated so much of my time and efforts over the past year to something that may turn out to be an unworkable disaster.

When the fear peaked to this advanced state of realization that I may have wasted so much time on something so speculative, I clung tightly to a quote by Napoleon Hill – ”You are but the sum of your dominating or most prominent thoughts.”  It’s a pretty famous quote from his book ‘The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons’ published in 1928. The theory is similar to the law of attraction and positive thinking, but no quote on this topic has held more resonance for me than Napoleon Hill’s.

Every morning when I got up – daunted by the writing task at hand for the day – I repeated this quote over and over in my mind. If I allowed myself to dwell on the fear that my manuscript to date was so flawed that it was beyond saving, I would descend into panic and desolation. I had to be convinced that my manuscript was save-able, even as the further I went into the editing, the worse the structural problems seemed to get.  The knock-on effect resulting from the alteration of a simple piece of dialogue or the tweaking of one action or response almost toppled me into the sea of self-doubt.

I developed two personalities over these two weeks. One personality kept telling me that I would complete my novel, that it would all work out in the end, that I was right to dedicate serious time and effort into the project and that it would not all be the biggest mistake I ever made. The other personality told me I would regret wasting the past fourteen months, that I had wrongly steered myself into a perilous financial situation because of my commitment to the project and that I was naive to think I could call myself an aspiring novelist, never mind that anyone might read what I wrote.

Napoleon Hill kept me going, solidified a steely determination within me so as not to allow the negative thoughts dominate my thinking. I completed all the restructuring and I’m now well on my way to completing a much better story all round (for now anyway), streets ahead of where it was five weeks ago. Strangely, something innocuous also happened around the same time to assure me I kept focused on the positive thoughts. I developed an irrational fear that I was going to wake up one morning to find a spider on my pillow as I lay in bed. And you guessed it, three weeks later I woke up to find a spider on my pillow, a bit unsure as to why he was there.

I’m sticking with Napoleon.

NMG.C

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Einstein, default settings and inner change

16 Nov

Albert Einstein (some say) once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was the definition of insanity.  My good friend Sheena once said that if you are sick of getting what you always get, stop doing what you always do  – the original source of this quote is unknown! Now, there is nothing wrong with my ears, nor my cognitive processing, but despite hearing and sagely acknowledging both of these wise quotes many times, my general demeanor and disposition would suggest otherwise to an on-looker.

Personal or inner change is difficult to achieve – the process is long, slow and frustrating with genuine ‘turning-points’ being too few and far between to keep us determined. We know we desperately want to change – what ever it is we are trying to change – to make our lives better. We set ourselves at the ready, know what we need to do in the given situation and we have our plan of action all worked out.

It was at this point that I failed spectacularly every time. Despite my best thought-out intentions, when it eventually came to the crunch – when the ‘upgraded me’ was due make its grand entrance, I would unceremoniously revert back to my default settings and fail miserably.

Inner change is essentially re-programming, especially when you are dealing with deep-seated issues like self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Each of these elements revolve around the other, knitted tightly through themselves and it is almost impossible to have one without the other two. Changing the perception of yourself from within is a lengthy process, taken in tiny steps through a plethora of thoughts, interactions, reasonings and judgments over a long time. It’s a long haul for anyone.

For me, I was completely useless at standing up for myself. End of.  I hated that I mostly always took on the role of  inferiority by default. It was only when my back was completely against the wall that I fought my corner – and even then, my fight was unsteady, flinching and unconvincing. I didn’t believe in myself.

Trying to change this was enormous and at the same time it all depended on so many variables – past experiences in similar situations, knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of who or what I was dealing with, my own self-confidence on a given day and my challenged sense of my own self-worth. It was so difficult to stay in control – to try to come out evens – when you always felt less strong than those around you.

My constant disappointment in myself at my inability to stick up for myself finally forced me to attempt to change. The main catalyst for attempting this change was a massive life event whereby my default response of inferiority pushed me into deeper trouble and unwittingly assuming guilt. I was so out of my depth, was so distraught and frustrated that perhaps the fight element of the ‘fight or flight’ response kicked in. Maybe it was the final straw and I had been pushed to the limit but deep within me the spark of self-worth ignited. Finally.

It was a big day – not because of the event itself but because I was sick of getting what I always got, so I stopped doing what I always did. It wasn’t an immediate over-all change – but little events happened after that where I could practice what I had learned from the big event – sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed.

 

Eventually though, a new pattern (although sporadic) began to emerge. It was slow for sure but I am now stunned by the internal knock-on effects and inner strength standing up for yourself brings. It was a tough slog to get on this road, but I am slowly beginning to feel like the person I should have been all along.

NMG.C

Creativity Unplugged

9 Jul

So I disappeared there for a few weeks, a sort of virtual holiday in ways brought on by the unexpected explosion of my trusty laptop and its motherboard about three weeks ago. Like losing your cell phone, being without a laptop was a shock to my on-line system and once the scramble to retrieve data from back-up systems was completed I breathed a sigh of relief and decided to unplug myself for a few weeks to de-technolog-ize myself, if you will!

Without my laptop, I realised how much time I spent glued to it – writing, browsing, tweeting, blogging, designing, tumbling, viewing……I never went anywhere without it. So how did I manage?

– I read books – ‘New York’ by Edward Rutherford and ‘Think and Grow Rich’ (again!)

– I watched close to 30 DVD’s – old classics, much loved stories and a few new ones people recommended – the last one I watched was The Piano, others included Schindler’s List, Pride & Prejudice, Mean Streets, Atonement, Casablanca, Sabrina, Magnolia, Avatar, Dog Day Afternoon ……it’s amazing what friends have tucked away in their cupboards that you can borrow!

– I bought newspapers and read them with my morning coffee and carried them with me throughout the day – I felt very twee, holding a newspaper instead of reading on-line on my laptop or iphone.

– I bought a drawing notebook and teased out further structure options for my book, working in colours and story maps, scrunching up papers and tossing them over my shoulder and starting again. ‘Delete’ not an option in hard copy and I had forgot the joy and creativity of that!

– I visited friends and talked, drank tea, drank wine and even went to an outdoor gig in my wellies and raincoat!

But now I am back, well almost – my new laptop arrives later this week and I will be back to my usual routine following my joyful hiatus – hope I didn;t miss much!!

NMG.C

 

 

 

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