Divine Calm: Trusting your instincts

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2.22.2006

Trusting your instincts

I'm taking a more optimistic approach toward both solicited and unsolicited opinions. For instance, while my mom might not always agree with my decisions, I'm not necessarily blowing off her advice nor am I angry at her vocal opposition. Instead, I am learning to shut the heck up and see her advice for what it really is. It's about love seasoned with fear for my well-being due to her own experiences. A couple years later, I might regret my decisions and realize that she was right all along. Or, I might be better off for trusting my gut instincts.

When striving for a goal or even for a happier life, it's beneficial to have a little feedback from the world. Knowing how much harder you have to sweat for success can propel you in a more realistic direction. Or it can paralyze you from even trying. Improving from criticism while insulating yourself from misleading, albeit well-intended, advice is critical to our evolution as adults. Additionally, recognizing which advice is offered requires both strong self-esteem and experience to know the difference.

It's especially imperative to listen to your inner voice and balance criticism while creating. For example, I have been entranced by the clothing designers on Project Runway and how they have improved their creations while attempting to retain their unique point of view. It's no easy feat to be an original and have everyone love your creation. Sometimes I feel as if a designer has to be in cohorts with the cosmic gods to predict that little something the world needs but doesn't realize it's missing. Everyone can be an original, but, alas, not everyone wants to hear or see what you have to produce. Of course there are a myriad of factors that render creative success like talent, mutated genes, drive, hard work, and dumb luck, but for the sake of my argument I'm assuming everyone reading this post has these traits.

I will return to my beginning point, trust your instincts. If you are constantly judging your own work or life through others' points of view, you are betraying your innate creativity. With the risk of sounding lame, creativity is best nourished if you protect it like a hothouse plant in winter. Shelter it, allow some light from the outside through, but you are ultimately responsible for its survival. (Well, you, a watering can and the modern invention of greenhouse heating.)

So, Mom, what do you think about all of my pontificating on creativity? See, I totally outed myself as being unable to follow my own advice. But I am trying.