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If you are a regular reader here, you may have read my post and giveaway for Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. This book is easily one of the most valuable items in my writer’s toolbox.
As a friend of mine so eloquently puts it, “Steven Pressfield is absolutely zero bullsh*t.” If you’re looking for someone to tell you that it’s okay to put off your writing until you get your life under control, or that it’s okay to put aside your passion because you’re tired or weary, don’t read his book or his blog. Give in to Resistance and allow it to bury you and your dreams. Just don’t blame anyone but yourself because you couldn’t or wouldn’t put in the work.
Talent is so abundant it’s almost cliche’. Talent will only take you so far. If you truly believe that you have been called to your particular creative endeavor–whether that be writing, painting, music, whatever–then what are you waiting for? If you’re waiting for conditions to be perfect before you begin in earnest, I’ve got news for you. They will never be perfect. Resistance will never allow that to happen.
Shame is good. Shame is a tremendous weapon against Resistance. Along with habit, momentum, aspiration, anger, eros and joy, shame can be a mighty ally in the never-ending guerrilla campaign against self-sabotage.
What is shame? Shame is the emotion we feel when we are guilty of acts that are unworthy of us.
Resistance hates shame. Because Resistance knows that once we feel shame, we are likely (goaded by this extremely unpleasant sensation) to take action. We are likely to gird our loins, put some starch in our backbone, kick ourselves in the ass–and actually start doing our work.
In this context, I agree that shame is a powerful motivator. Of course, there is bad shame. Bad shame is based on fear. It keeps victims of sexual and domestic abuse from outing their attackers. Bad shame keeps people in relationships because of obligation rather than love, it empowers bullys to continue their intimidation tactics on others. But bad shame is almost always based on lies.
Good shame motivates us to put away our excuses and belly aching and helps us move closer from the person we are to the person we want to be.
And what a shame it would be for the rest of the world if we never got a glimpse of that person inside of you…
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