Insanely Gifted – get it now
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More about Insanely Gifted: Turn Your Demons Into Creative Rocket Fuel
When we were born we were completely open, we were exuberant and flamboyant, we were curious, adventurous and limitless. Our imaginations and our creativity knew no bounds. As Debbie Ford says, at that point each one of us is a castle with a thousand rooms. Then we start boarding rooms up to please others. Most of us end up as grownups thinking we are a three bedroom flat that needs some work.
The fact of the matter is, by the time we are adults we have violently edited ourselves down to about 20% of what we started with, a living and breathing marketing brochure of our ‘good’ and ‘nice’ parts that we think we need to be in order to fit in and for others to like us, love us or work with us. We waste a huge amount of our daily energy maintaining an appearance of confidence and ‘being fine-ness’ in public – especially at work where being a ‘winner’ and ‘on top of things’ is paramount. We exhaust ourselves keeping these masks in place while operating from this limited and squashed-in capacity. To me it’s really a form of prostituting ourselves, saying, ‘I’ll be whatever you want me to be, baby’ just so long as we’re not rejected.
We have all become approval addicts. Any negative feedback is deeply traumatic, and this is because when we were taught how to ‘be a person’ by our parents and carers, the primitive way they taught us to learn and obey was by giving us gushing love and approval when we ‘got it right’ and much less (sometimes even a whack around the head of you were born before 1971) when you got it wrong. As the drug dealers among you will know, when you give a little of something great, and then withhold it, and then give a bit of something great, and then withhold it – this creates an addiction. So we’ve all been unwittingly turned into approval addicts in the way we’ve been brought up, and it’s backed up all the way through school. This is why we need Facebook – ‘ahhhh I got 12 likes under my Rumi quote!’ This is why we want more and more people to follow us on twitter.
More seriously, this is why we put off finishing things or even starting for fear of ‘getting it wrong’ or that people won’t like it. We tell each other we want honest feedback, but in reality we dread it.
We are also totally phobic about the uncomfortable feelings within us when someone seems to reject us. In this culture we’ve been sold the false myth that we should always maintain the ‘comfortable’ and avoid the ‘uncomfortable’, and in doing so we avoid any painful emotions even though we know somewhere in the back of our minds that half the treasure of life is to be found outside our approval-addicted comfort zones.
All the time that we hide our demons and our shadows – all the aspects of us we don’t think will make us very likeable or a ‘good’ person – it is these very demons and shadows that are getting stronger and wilder and ready to play merry havoc with our lives. We cover up our anger for as long as possible, then lash out at the person who’s accidentally bumped into us; we suppress our sadness, then start crying uncontrollably at a sentimental television advert. We take metaphorical and literal pills to cover up the darkness. We know the person we show to the world isn’t what’s going on inside, but fear what might happen if we were to let the genie out of the bottle.
We do a fairly good job of carving out a niche for ourselves in our uncomfortable comfort zone, where we don’t allow ourselves to be magnificent for fear of arrogance. Instead, we cultivate a currency of feeling hard done by, because the more we can show ourselves to be suffering, the more worthy we will be of love and affection. Have you ever heard yourself playing Victim Idol with your partner?
YOUR PARTNER: ‘I hardly had any sleep last night.’
YOU: ‘Well, I’ve been struggling to sleep all week, and had to get up for the baby twice last night.’
YOUR PARTNER: ‘Are you saying I don’t do my bit with the baby? I’m so stressed at work right now, I don’t need more pressure on top of it.’
YOU: ‘I never complain about giving up my career for our family. I just wouldn’t mind some help once in a while…’
We wind ourselves up into tightly sprung coils of stress. We play Oscar-winning victim roles.
The result of all this is that we have stifled our exuberance and silenced our creativity in case our uniqueness sabotages our chances of being welcomed.
What if we all stopped hiding and playing up to our roles, and instead became fascinated with the parts of ourselves we’re pushing away? It would require a total about-turn in our daily practice of avoidance, to actually focus our attention on our feelings and by entering a new dialogue with ourselves, harvest the many babies we’ve been throwing out with the bathwater in the name of ‘social safety’. Those many gifts…
Think about when you fall in love. Whoever fell in love with someone for being appropriate? When you get close to someone, they let you see their dark spots. You see behind the masks. Visibility is intimacy. Then you can fall in love.
Intimacy is being open and vulnerable; it’s a willingness to dare to be seen as more than just the safe, predictable version of yourself, and in doing so become a living permission slip for whoever you’re with to do the same. As we gently take off our everyday masks, the aspects of ourselves that we were hiding become the tools and the inspiration for creative masterpieces in our work, and that’s true in our work and partnerships too.
People can only trust you and your creative choices if they know you’re not a pleaser. Being a pleaser is death to creativity. The only thing I have going for me as a music producer is my unvarnished opinion, this is what creates originality and quality. And the only way I’m going to know what I really feel about something is if I’m used to being willing to feel myself, even when it’s not comfortable. As we’ll see later, all the best creativity happens in the listening field. When I write a song I twiddle around on the guitar or piano and I’m listening for a melody, not trying to ‘think one up’ – it’s in the listening that the genius can arise, it’s within that field that all the best parenting, friendship, love-making is available. Creativity is really just receptivity; it is being completely open, willing to be impacted, to feel deeply vulnerable, willing to mess up and be uncompromising, to risk disapproval by some or many but also have the chance to give with everything that we are.
That is what we will try and find together in this book.
Imagine your reaction if God walked in the room right now and told you that you had plateaued, that this is it, this is who you are going to be for the rest of your life. Would you be ok with that, would you accept yourself and love yourself in this moment? Who exactly are you striving to be? I want you to see that you are wounded in all the right places, that your demons are not your enemies but your inspiration and your allies. To unleash your creativity, you need to, gently, unleash yourself.
The thing to bear in mind is that each of us is not just gifted, we are insanely gifted. Professor Steve Peters called it the Chimp Paradox, Buddha likened what’s going on inside of us to a little man sitting on top of a wild elephant. I believe we are each a wise guru in charge of a mental patient. Because every single one of us has both and both are needed to survive and thrive as a human. When we let them meet in the middle, then the magic begins to happen in our lives. What if we let the madness be true? What if we stopped constantly editing ourselves? We might just stop limiting ourselves, too.
And if we can succeed in doing that, then we are able to unleash our gifts upon the world.
This book will help you reclaim and reignite your creative genius. It will:
Dissolve anything and everything in the way of your clear creative channel
Help you rediscover techniques for effortlessly accessing the imagination
Increase confidence and sense of personal power in ALL areas of life
Show you how to reclaim and unleash hidden parts of yourself to release untapped resources of innate, playful genius
Free yourself from any imprisoning or limiting beliefs which have held you back
Allow you to laugh your head off at your humanity so that old depressions and emotional pressures fall away