Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.
The Creative Thinking Trap
I believe that getting in touch with your creativity is one of the true pleasures in life. The good news is that it’s a skill that can be learned and enhanced. The bad news is that it can be used as a cover or disguise that lets you justify avoiding what you really need to be doing. Noodling, seeing the creative big picture and brainstorming is fun but you need to augment this creativity with discipline. If you don’t, you will be thinking creative thoughts but never creating. Short term that fun; long term it leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction because you never achieve what you contemplate. There are many highly creative thinkers who never produce and deliver. They never create something tangible. They never go from the insight phase to the action phase. It might be a red flag if your friends are always talking about your potential rather than your accomplishments.
I enjoy the research, note taking and composing first draft aspect of writing. I have to discipline myself to balance this creative process with the daily drudgery of editing and entering my notes into my computer. If I don’t I will fail to write a book or a blog in a timely manner and only produce a large pile of unstructured and incoherent notes that lack focus and a meaningful message. You have to find the balance between creativity and creating. This requires discipline.
The Misunderstanding Of Good Self Esteem Trap
How do you evaluate your self esteem? One significant clue to low self esteem is the unwillingness to question one’s circumstances honestly and effectively. You choose to remain stuck in an undesirable situation with the inability to see a way out and the unwillingness to acknowledge and confront the situation. You have to acknowledge (without minimizing, denying and rationalizing) the reality of your situation before real change is possible. If answers aren’t forthcoming from within, then (as they say in the business world) outsource your problem. Consider counseling, hiring a coach or find a mentor to help you.
The Criticism Trap
Criticism is self inflicted pain. Criticism attacks the critic. It’s as self defeating and futile as drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Criticism doesn’t create warm, positive feelings. You will not know serenity while your mind and your thoughts are attacking, belittling, demeaning or putting down. Abandon this source of pain and allow the mind to heal. Do not allow criticisms to be uttered. When Mathew Arnold, a famous poet and critic died, Robert Browning said “Poor Matt, I’m sure he is in heaven, but he is not going to like God.”
The Power Of Communication Trap
We buy into the concept that communication is the panacea for resolving all relationship issues. If answers/solutions and improvements aren’t forthcoming, then more communication is required. Issues are rehashed over and over and a whole lot of energy is devoted to fixing the other person. The reality is that communication isn’t always effective in resolving differences. More acceptance and less unsolicited advice or preaching (both masquerade as communication) is required. Do you think telling an overweight person that he’s fat is really telling him something he doesn’t already know. It brings heat rather than light to the party. Unsolicited advice, no matter how well intentioned and sincere, is usually ineffective. As the farmer said when attempting to teach his pigs to dance, not only was it a waste of time, but it irritated the hell out of the pigs.
People have to choose to help themselves. You can be supportive, but you can’t be the originator of change. A good relationship will accept that there are areas in which your input is unwanted and ineffective; the other doesn’t want to change, has different goals, values or weaknesses. You are way ahead in the game, when you acknowledge that reality without emotional self pity that breeds resentment. There is a mythical model of marriage described in some self help books that supports the lie that if someone loves you they should be able to help you unconditionally in all areas. It’s the fallacy of one stop shopping in which one person will fulfill all your needs and fix all your problems.