Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:
- “What are the costs of inaction?” I find it can be helpful to fight fear with fear. Fears of acting are easily and immediately articulated by our “lizard brains” (thanks Seth) e.g. what if I fail? what if I look stupid? If you systematically and clearly list the main costs of inaction, they will generally overshadow your immediate fears.
- “What kind of person do I want to be?” I’ve found this question to be extremely useful. I admire people who act bravely and decisively. I know the only way to join their ranks is to face decisions that scare me. By seeing my actions as a path to becoming something I admire, I am more likely to act and make the tough calls.
- “In the event of failure, could I generate an alterative positive outcome?” Imagine yourself failing to an extreme. What could you learn or do in that situation to make it a positive experience? We are generally so committed to the results we seek at the outset of a task or project that we forget about all the incredible value and experience that comes from engaging the world proactively, learning, and improving our circumstances as we go along.
I'm having trouble relating to this prompt. I don't see myself as an entrepreneur, though I am trying to create some side projects by which I can support my dreams and spur on my financial situation. So the third question, in particular, doesn't seem to relate to me.
I've spent a lot of time this week though thinking about the kind of person I want to be and trying to dig beyond my insecurity and fear to remember who I am. I know myself to be some pretty fine things - open, compassionate, generous, creative, adventurous. And I'm capable of being responsible for the less fine aspects of who I am - jealous, insecure, undisciplined, judgmental.
So the truth is, I don't want to be someone else (and no, I don't think that's what the prompt is suggesting). All I want is to continue to cultivate the parts of me that serve me and - more importantly - the people around me best. Sometimes getting there requires a little hard looking at things I don't want to look at. And some hard conversations with the people I love.
Being great and doing right really require only one thing - being me ... the loving, creative, adventurous me I'm here to be.