When I was first learning how to write, I received a pretty great piece of advice that hasn’t ever left me.
My teacher told me that good writers know when to write, but great writers know when not to write.
For the past three months, I have been on a writing tear…probably the greatest writing streak I’ve ever had. It has been almost every single day for 90 days. And yet, the past three days, I knew it was time to take a few steps back and let this extraordinary feeling just fester inside of me for a bit.
There are days when I know what I have to say, how to say it, and what stories I am going to tell. Then, there are days when I show up to the laptop and have absolutely no idea what is about to come out.
But these past three days, I had a pretty unique feeling that only comes around once in a while – the feeling of: whatever is going on inside of you right now, let it cook a little bit longer, you are almost to the bottom of it.
So I let that sucker cook. Tonight, I’m taking it out of the oven.
That’s what has come out of the oven – this concept of being humble and what it really means to be humble in this world.
We live in a day and age where boasting, bragging, social media posts and all sorts of attention seeking behavior is pumping up peoples superficially strong egos and setting them up for disaster when the criticisms come. While I have fallen in this trap before and still do from time to time, I try to avoid it as much as possible.
Because when you become a man or woman who is built on the compliments of others…you will be destroyed by their criticisms.
That’s the way a fragile ego works. The fragile mind screams for attention of others because it can’t even begin to comprehend its own self worth. Dangerous. Very dangerous. In fact, and I can personally attest to this from years ago, people will go to great lengths to fill up the holes in their soul.
Maybe a few of you who have been around for a long time remember my reference to having a soul of swiss cheese? Holes in it everywhere?
Well that was my life, and boy did I try to fill those with all sorts of things. I was incredibly successful at it too. But when life does what it does best – comes and goes – those holes reappear again and again and you can either make the decision to build yourself into a solid block of cheese – lets say provolone, or continue to play the same game over and over again.
Unfortunately, most people don’t choose the reinvention route because it’s hard. And honestly, it is at times. But worth it? You bet.
How can we maintain humility and grounding when the world rages around us with opinions – both traditionally positive and negative? How can we stay true to our course without becoming infatuated with the things that other people say?
It’s a challenge…it really is.
Through all of this letting it cook concept something else really came to mind that struck me over and over again. Who could we become if we really dropped all of our fears? How big could you really dream…and not in the way of achieving material possessions, but in seeing our greatest potential as a human being? What would that person do, walk like, talk like, be like…simply ask all the questions about your future self and who would that person be? Could you even see it?
And if you did start to see it, would you be willing to start competing with that?
That, right there, is precisely what I’ve been thinking about for the past few days – competing with the man I see in the future…in this moment right now.
That pushes me. It pushes me hard. Because I have done a lot of peeking around the corner and trying to see the next steps and I have a belief in who and what I can become.
But belief doesn’t cut it alone…you have to get into action. Because without actions…you’re dead in the water. Actions are the glue that hold each of those pieces of belief together. Without them…simply pieces.
So ask yourself, who could you really be?
There’s a reason why you can dream it, because it’s mostly likely already inside of you in the first place. It’s possibly for you. Now just go out there and get it.
– Evan Sanders, The Better Man Project