Why We Should Be More Arrogant by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Matteo Paganelli

Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that-merely by being here-you are allowed to have a voice, a vision of your own.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

I've never been a fan of arrogance. But developing this quality was one of my major takeaways from Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic

We wait for approval, recognition, or confirmation that our ideas are worth sharing. We feel obligated to follow the rules, go through the proper channels, and stand in line until we're noticed by someone who matters. But that method is rarely the best way to create or add value.

You don't need anyone's permission to make your art, start a movement, or solve a problem.  Even though there is security in being chosen or invited by someone else to do something, waiting to be picked is disheartening. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all. We could easily become bitter, cynical, or stuck because we're giving someone else all the power. 

The arrogance of belonging is not about egotism or self absorption. In a strange way, it’s the opposite; it is a divine force that will actually take you out of yourself and allow you to engage more fully with life. Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgement, your crushing sense of self protection). The arrogance of belonging pulls you out of the darkest depths of self hatred-not by saying ‘I am the greatest! but merely by saying ‘I am here!
— Elizabeth Gilbert

Believing that you have a place at the table changes how you interact with the world around you. You stop listening to the voice that says, "who do you think you are?" You learn by doing and speak up when you have something to say. 

Leadership, like art, is something we tend to leave to the experts. But you can be a leader through small, ordinary actions. Here is an excellent TEDx talk on Everyday Leadership by Drew Dudley:

We have made leadership into something bigger than us. We’ve made into something beyond us. We’ve made it about changing the world. And we’ve taken this title of leader, and we treat it as if it’s something that one day we’re going to deserve, but to give it to ourselves right now means a level of arrogance or cockiness that we’re not comfortable with.
— Drew Dudley

Creativity and leadership are not supposed to be for the select few. We are all artists and leaders whether we define ourselves that way or not. This type of confidence will spill over into every area of our lives, relationships, and communities.

When have you been arrogant for all the right reasons? Did It pay off?


7 Simple Ways to Care Less About What Others Think by Amy DeRosia

Living a bold, beautiful life where we are is more possible than it's ever been. But, there will be people who disagree with you once you stand for something. 

We have to learn how to manage the feedback we get in a productive way. If we seek too much approval of our choices, it is easy to become discouraged and confused. 

When we put our best work out into the world, anonymous commenters and trolls online aren't the only critics we have to worry about. Our family and friends can also negatively effect our success. We have to learn how to acknowledge but distance ourselves from their opinions too.

I've always had the tendency to be too aware of what others think. In a lot of situations this perceptiveness has helped me easily connect with people. But, I've also gone through multiple phases where I felt trapped by trying to make others happy.

There are some people who don't seem to struggle with any sort of self-consciousness at all. They do what they want without thinking too much about it.  As wonderful as this trait can be in today's world, not noticing how others are affected by your behavior isn't ideal either. 

We've got to find our own ways to balance between self-awareness and action. Here are some ideas:

  1. Learn to see criticism and praise as feedback about the other person. - You can notice criticism and praise but see it only as feedback about that person's experience. Tara Mohr does an excellent job of talking about this in her book Playing Big.
  2. Focus on intrinsic instead of extrinsic motivators. - What is this action really about for you? Find a higher purpose in the risk you're taking.
  3. Break some unspoken social rules on purpose -just to see what happens. Most of the time no one will react at all.
  4. Keep your fragile, new ideas private for a while. - When it's time to share them with family and friends, put some effort into selling your ideas like you would with a client. Help them to understand your vision and why this is important to you. You're better off with all the support you can get.
  5. Experiment with your personal style. - Fashion is an easy way to express yourself everyday. Wear something loud in public that you love. Get a bold haircut. Most people will respond positively to these small risks or won't say anything.
  6. Grow your skills and knowledge. - This will make you more confident to try new things.
  7. Let yourself fail. - You either succeed or you learn something. Often times, learning is more valuable.

When we speak up and behave in ways aligned with our values, some people might not get it. But, there is freedom that comes from not caring so much about their opinions. Thriving anywhere depends on daily courage.

What has helped you worry less about criticism? Let me know in the comments.