How Privacy Helps Us Make Brave Choices / by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Stefan Ringler

The more original your idea is, the less good advice people will be able to give you.
— Hugh MacLeod

We have countless ways to make fools out of ourselves now.  There are platforms to instantly share our thoughts, art, and music with people from all over the world before we have a clue what we’re doing. 

Trying something new is brave. We have real opportunities to be courageous everyday. But it can be disappointing, embarrassing, and stressful too.

Parts of the process are going to feel fuzzy and uncomfortable whether you are writing a story, starting a business, or traveling to a new place. In this moment, the natural reaction is to ask for advice. We want to make the right choice. But family and friends often don’t know any better than we do.  The challenge is to learn to hear our own voices more clearly.

When we’re making decisions there are a lot of opinions and unsolicited advice by people around us. We know it is important to share our ambitions with others. A lot of the time collaboration and feedback make creative work better. But we’ve got to do a much better job of protecting our fragile ideas.

You got a dream. You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.
— Pursuit of Happyness

I’m always surprised by how much I care about others’ reactions to my dreams. This can cloud my judgment, leave me feeling discouraged, or freaked out. When I have trusted my intuition over conventional wisdom in the past couple of years, I’ve never regretted it. 

Mistakes aren’t terrible. It is more important for us to make our own choices than correct ones. We have to find ways to get out of our heads and try things.

Criticism is far less personal when we’re happy with our own choices.  Creating a safe space to explore and reflect helps us figure out what we want. This may be a journal, a daily walk, a physical place, or a shift in mindset.

Everything doesn’t have to be shared. When we allow privacy to be party of the creative process, our actions become more purposeful.  Unfinished ideas, dreams yet to be realized, or choices we’re unsure of are fragile. Be aware of what you need at different phases: feedback or privacy.

Sarah Lewis explains this perfectly in her 99U talk:

We have to be intentional about who we let into the inner workings of our worlds. I hope we all learn how to create the space to build lives we love and work that matters.

What helps you follow your intuition? Let me know in the comments.