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.

Why Attempting a New Year's Resolution is Brave by Amy DeRosia

The most frustrating aspect of New Year's resolutions is disappointing yourself. You get your hopes up about making something fantastic happen in your life, commit to a habit, and fall short.

This cycle makes starting again that much harder. But year after year, so many people give New Year's resolutions another try. Is it because they're crazy or stupid? Maybe.

I think they're brave. Of course we want to set ourselves up for success. But, choosing to hope, dream, and plan after failing multiple times is courageous.

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.
— Ellen Goodman

Resolutions are usually seen as a waste of time because most people fail at their goals before the end of January. But, there are some individuals who make major changes that stick. Lots of folks do more self reflection than they do at any other time and try to better themselves. Failure or not, these are nice characteristics to see in our culture.

Most approaches to changing your behavior are pretty similar. You have to take action, or they don't work. Find a method you like and test it out. See what feels right to you.

Here are a few good resources I know of:

  • A wonderful blog on this topic is Leo Babauta's Zen Habits.
  • My favorite resource right now is Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map (affiliate link). I've been using her system for about a year and love it.
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In this process, you're allowed to change your mind, quit, or fail. Just don't beat yourself up about it too much. Be intentional. Stay in motion as much as you can. Take a break and recharge. Try something else.

Lasting change is a marathon, not a sprint. There will always be obstacles in the way. The sooner we learn setbacks are part of the process, the better off we'll be.

When you're unsuccessful, you learn a lot more than if you got it right on the first try. This information about what didn't work helps you fail better and faster next time.

Starting a resolution is brave. January 1st or not- if something is important to you, I hope you continue to believe in the possibility of change and persist toward your goal. You never know what you can achieve if you don't go for it.

Happy New Year :)

What went well for you this year? What are you looking forward to about 2015?