Ditch That Negative Mental Baggage! How to Increase Your Creativity by Travelling Light

Dan Goodwin

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Imagine that every time you went anywhere - whether it was to work, to a friend’s, to a restaurant, to the shops – you had to gather up all the possessions you had and take them with you. Every time. Everything you own and have collected over the period of your life, all bundled up together and taken along for the ride.

How clumsy and inconvenient would it be? How much would it hold you back from visiting the places you liked going to, and lead you to question whether it was worth the effort and upheaval each time? How would it hinder you from trying new routes and exploring new areas, knowing that you’d have all this baggage to take with you and worry about?

For some, the total of our material possessions may be contained in a few suitcases and boxes, but most of us would probably need to hire a professional removal team just to go out for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread!

An amusing image, but of course this is completely impractical and sounds ridiculous. Even for those who try to live as economically and possession-free as possible, most of us as individuals have a huge amount of physical “stuff”.

So what do we do to overcome this hugely restrictive possible dilemma? Well, we have a home, somewhere to live that’s a base-point for us, where we can store all of our possessions and return to enjoy their comfort and security, to rest, eat, sleep, recuperate and so on.

For most of us privileged enough to have a home, the thought of carrying all of our possessions around wherever we go may sound bizarre. But think for a moment how you already do this with your inner home, in your mind and your thoughts.

For example when you come to start a new creative project, do you mentally simply grab a small bag with a few recent thoughts, a handful of ideas, a dash of motivation and start with gusto?

Or do you instead take years of mental processes, doubts and insecurities - most of those you’ve carefully gathered as you’ve gone through your life - and attempt to begin your new project in the face of all these obstructions?

Most of us do the latter.

If we’re about to start a new painting for example and aren’t too confident about where to start and where it will lead, then the second prize (not FIRST prize) you were awarded in a recent competition, the collection of “work in progress” canvases gathering dust in your attic, and a particularly stinging piece of criticism thrown at you by a somewhat embittered Art Tutor some twenty years ago, are all likely to appear as old friends (enemies) in your thoughts and give you ammunition to sabotage your efforts as you begin the new project.

Sound familiar? So what we can we do about it? How can we approach new projects afresh and without all this baggage of negative thinking and past experiences in our minds?

One of the most powerful ways is to revisit some of the events as honestly and objectively as possible. What really happened? Was it the actual experience that is continuing to cause us pain and doubts, or our negative thoughts that have grown around it and escalated each time it’s been replayed in our memory?

As Byron Katie, author of “Loving What Is”, puts it – “The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. ”

By realising that it’s our thoughts about, and reactions to, what happens to us, rather than the events themselves, that determines what we learn and gain from each experience, we instantly put ourselves in a far more empowered position.

Another of the most effective things we can do is gather all the positive evidence of our creative abilities and achievements. Take the time to make a list of all the good work you do, and all the positive steps you take in your creative life.

Most of us find it easier to acknowledge this in others than in ourselves, so to strengthen this exercise, get together with a few creatively minded friends and list each others’ positive abilities and achievements as well as your own.

These are just some ideas to get you started and help you see things in a different way. Experiment and see what works for you, see it as another way of exploring your creativity.

Next time you embark on a new creative project, remember to be kinder to yourself. When it comes to the negative and destructive thoughts we carry around, to increase our creativity it pays to always travel light…

© Copyright 2006 Dan Goodwin.

Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin is the author of “Create Create!”, a FREE twice monthly ezine for people who want simple and powerful articles, tips and exercises to help them unleash their creative talents. Sign up right now and get your FREE “Explode Your Creativity!” Action Workbook, at http://www.CoachCreative.com


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