Discursive thoughts are like an emergency alert system. They flash through our mind over and over again, incessantly. A broken record, stuck on repeat.
This resistance, that voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough, subverts us from doing our best work.
Here are three strategies that are helpful in combating the enemy from within:
Pema Chödrön invites us to gently say the word “Thinking.” As if your thoughts are like clouds passing through the sky. Acknowledge they are there and simply let them pass through.
Make better art.
When things are not going well—you lost your job, that proposal you worked on for three months was axed, your presentation bombed—beloved author Neil Gaiman has an invocation: when the work you do is not working, make better art. And then you keep making better art and keep making better art, until, the work gets better.
What does Ulysses, Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby have in common? Each of them have one-star reviews on Amazon. No author ever got better by reading her one-star reviews. For all the critics, trolls and haters trying to tear down your work, just say Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for having the courage to speak up. And now you can go back to work. Because it’s not for them. An artist understands that she isn’t trying to change everyone, just someone.