What do you fear most in the work you do? Is it failure, inadequacy, irrelevance, obscurity, poverty? Perhaps it's "all the above."
Your work is fraught with challenges, uncertainty, and obstacles. So much is beyond your control. But you do control the most essential asset required to thrive in any situation or circumstance. What asset is that?
Your mindset. The way you perceive "the game."
And just three little words can reframe any state of affairs. You can find possibilities within challenges, options within uncertainties, and opportunities within obstacles.
We Are All Creatives
We are born with the capacity for reason, a creative instinct, and a social nature. This combination of characteristics differentiates us from all other living things on the planet. It’s also the source of your limitless power and potential. Potential people like us strive to develop and realize through work that matters.
A Creative is merely someone who brings something into the world that didn’t previously exist. Every time you make a meal, make a mess or make amends, you’ve engaged in the act of creating. Creating is an everyday human activity.
Three Little Words
"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl
When the going gets tough, the mentally tough don't get going; they pause and say, "Isn't that interesting...?"
"Wait a minute. That's it? Those three words will change everything?"
No, not the words themselves, but, over time, the practice of saying them and engaging with them will. Here's a word by word breakdown of how it works.
“Isn’t that interesting…?” These three words interrupt the fight or flight reflex of your prehistoric lizard brain and engage your curiosity. It's impossible to be anxious and curious at the same time.
Emotions are natural, human, reactions to situations and circumstances. But you can choose whether or not to cling to them and continue to feel them. You can thrive and prosper regardless of what life throws at you.
What Happens Next
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - Hamlet
The posture you assume as a creative being, and the way you engage with your work and those you share it with is driven by your mindset. Your posture determines the way you engage. Your mindset determines how you perceive. Your posture and mindset are the only things you have agency over.
If your mindset is fixed and always focuses on potential downsides and worst case scenarios, that’s completely understandable. You've been programmed to think that way by an evolutionary imperative and institutional inveigling.
But it doesn't have to be this way!
“Isn’t that interesting…?” This question inserts a pause that allows you to make a more deliberate choice and choose a reasonable course of action that’s aligned with your values, your talents, and those you serve.
Keep this three-word question close at hand and top of mind for a week. “Isn’t that interesting…?” Apply it when stress triggers unhelpful and unhealthy responses. Employed even over a short period of time, the three simple word question has profound benefit.
"Isn't that interesting...?!"
Scott Perry is a husband, father, teacher, and musician from Floyd, VA. In addition to his work at Creative On Purpose, Scott is a coach in Seth Godin’s online programs. Scott’s books, Endeavor: Cultivate Excellence While Making a Difference and The Stoic Creative, are available here.
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