I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. I’ll often spend more time analyzing my work than I do actually working. (Oh hey, I’m doing it right now with these opening sentences. What a great start.)
If you’re a perfectionist, don’t feel bad. You have great qualities, such as diligence, loyalty, and a desire for excellence. We need people like you and I in this world, but as perfectionists, we’ve got to learn how to manage our gifts, lest they become a hindrance.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve finally started dipping my toes back into the pool of writing fiction. I’m finally developing a story idea into a real book after more than a year of “absent creativity”—and at last, I had a revelation: my creativity hadn’t really been gone; it had merely been asleep, recharging.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a novelist. I would sit in my room at my desk for hours, plotting, writing, editing. The “life of a writer” consumed me. This was all I ever wanted: for it to be me, my characters, and my world. And of course, one day, a best-selling novel. But things didn’t quite work out that way.
If you’re anything like me, nothing has ever sounded as dull as simply “being normal”. Having a normal job and doing normal things like normal people. It turns you off because, deep down, you know you were made for more than that. You have a purpose, and “normalcy” is your enemy—or is it?
I just want to take a minute to say something that should be pretty obvious, but for some reason isn’t: People are not normal. People are complex, vibrant, mysterious, and deep—sometimes even beyond their own realization. You are one of those people. But unique people like you and I sometimes end up doing “normal things”—and we beat ourselves up for it.
We live in a world that is constantly pushing for more—for us to do more, give more, or be more. As high achievers, this is a natural tendency, and a great trait. Aspiring to do and achieve your best is not something to be ashamed of, but today I want to talk about one little word that’s sometimes so hard for us to say: No.
In 2016, my focus was on generosity. I wanted to give more freely to more people. Now don’t get me wrong—generosity is a phenomenal trait with many benefits, and one I think we should all learn to cultivate. However, I made one mistake: I never said no.
Generous people make the greatest impact. It’s no secret, really; just a plain, simple fact. The more you give, the more lives you are able to touch. People who are characterized by an open hand are some of the most well-respected and successful people in society.
One of my goals is to begin cultivating a more generous mindset. I want to give freely, no strings attached. Generosity is one of the most attractive and outstanding traits a person can develop.
Our generation is having difficulty leaving childhood. We readily embrace the Peter Pan-like admonition to “never grow up” without really understanding what that means. Adulthood is a Perilous Realm we Millennials collectively hesitate to enter.
As creative people, we are sometimes even more reluctant to embrace growing up; entering the real world. We’ve believed the lie that doing so will damage our creativity—but what if the opposite is true?
Some days creativity comes easier than others. It’s always nice when the stream is flowing and the words and colors and ideas are coming, but we all know it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you don’t feel creative. Sometimes, you might even wonder if you’ll ever feel that way again.
When I was in high school, I focused all my spare energy on writing novels. I wrote and wrote and wrote; hundreds of thousands of words. And at first it was easy. But there came a time, shortly after I graduated when I stopped writing almost altogether. It was like the spark of passion I’d had had gone out.