Self-talk is an everyday part of being a writer. You can be your own biggest cheerleader or your own worst enemy. Luckily for every negative self-talk question I can think of, there’s a more positive way to get at the same information. I used to ask myself, “What am I going to write about today?” In fiction, this is a heavily loaded question. Now I ask myself, “Who’s with me today?” It adds an ethereal quality to the work and squarely places me in the role of being an observer of my own imagination. Then I take up my perch and get down everything I hear and see. This simple change of perspective reduces the pressure and ups the fun of the task. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Inspired: The single greatest predictor of success and happiness
I’ve met people who had every advantage and others who began life with less than nothing. Some of them are successful and happy; some aren’t. Talent and intelligence helps. Being organized, hard-working, and determined have incredible merits.
However, only one personality trait stands above all others as a universally common predictor of success and happiness: resourcefulness. The ability to take however much (or little, as the case my be) and squeeze every last drop of value out of it is what matters most. Every successful and happy person I know is also resourceful.
Opportunity is everywhere. It doesn’t come to those who wait, nor does it come to people who work their asses off. Opportunity, and its fruits, belong to people who see, recognize, seize, and mold it for all it’s worth. Turn over every rock and make the most of everything you find. Be resourceful.
Inspired: What a seed teaches us about risk-taking
My friend, Amelia, one of the incredible actors in Sing After Storms, posted this quote last week and I’ve been thinking about it every day since. To grow, we have to leave the security of the shore and delve deep into the unknown. Discovery and growth happen when we encounter new experiences, people, and places, when we take risks, and try something we aren’t quite sure we can accomplish.
I have no idea what my life will look like in a few short week when literally everything changes and I start my full-time writing life. I do know that I need this. I need to give this new, wild, unpredictable adventure my best shot, way out there in the wide open air where I’m free to learn and grow in many different directions. Giving up my current way of life seems like complete madness to some; they’ve told me as much. And that’s okay. I’ve known plenty of destruction, followed swiftly by plenty of growth, and I cherish it all. Where they see only loss, I see pure potential to have exactly the life I want to live. I’ve got a chance, right now, this very brief window of opportunity, and I’m taking it.
Inspired: You make your own opportunities
Inspired: How I Get Up Every Morning
Throughout this crazy hunt for a new home, Carole King’s song Beautiful keeps running through my mind. “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile in your face, and show the world all the love in your heart.” I keep smilin’ and lovin’. It’s so much better than the alternative.
Inspired: You Create Your Own Possibilities
If you don’t think you can, then you won’t. It’s that simple. A belief in your own abilities to do something extraordinary is what makes all the difference.
Inspired: Opportunity in injury
Over the Christmas holidays, I strained my hip. Now I’m on the mend thanks to my yoga practice, yoga teachers, and rest. I am rarely sick or injured so when it happens I first feel disappointed and then incredibly grateful. Disappointed that despite my desire to be super-human, I am indeed human and susceptible to injury. Grateful because an injury or illness fills me with so much empathy and compassion for those who manage physical pain on a daily basis. Injuries can get us down, and they can also be tremendous opportunities for growth, a source or strength, and proof of resilience. After all, if we were always well we would never experience the magic of healing.
Inspired: I’m Glad It Didn’t Work Out
Whenever something doesn’t work out in my favor, I don’t think of it as an opportunity lost but as a bullet dodged. This philosophy has never failed me, and over time it’s always proved to be true. I repeat this statement to myself: “The world has something better in mind for you. Be patient. Live. Have faith. Keep going.”
Beautiful: To Stay Young, Believe in Possibility
I sat behind a boy on the train as we rolled by empty lots between Newark airport and New York City that are littered with trash, surrounded by graffiti laden buildings, and completely devoid of life.
“They could build an arena here. Make it better,” he said to his father.
Kids see potential in a way that most adults don’t. They see possibility, hope, and the opportunity for reclamation. They remind me that despair is something we create, something we’re taught, not something that we innately know. We are programmed for wonder, to seize opportunity. The trick is to hang on to that even as the world attempts to change us. If we can stay focused on what’s possible rather than what is, we can create what we seek.
Beautiful: Choose Hope
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ~ Nelson Mandela.
When faced with a decision, we need to follow the path paved with what we love. It’s the other choice, the “sensible” one, that’s really dangerous because it leads us away from who we really are and what we really care about. The sensible choice doesn’t take advantage of our talents and passions. It traps us by constructing limitations on our capabilities.
So break through and break out of that construction designed by fear. Focus your attention and energy on the possibility, and not on the contingency plans. You’re brave, smart, and resourceful. If things fall apart, you’ll find a way to adjust and adapt. You’ll have the strength to cross that bridge if and when you need to. If you take a chance on a dream, the dream will take a chance on you. And that’s where the magic happens – when we finally stop worrying about invented fears and take action on the opportunities right in front of us.