Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Since releasing my debut novel at the end of January, I've heard a lot of questions and statements of a similar ilk. "I'd love to do something like that, but I'd feel so exposed & self-conscious!" "I always wanted to but I never felt like I was good enough." "I'd be too scared of what people think, you must have shit out a brick house before going ahead with it!" You get the picture, no doubt. You might even be able to hear your own voice echoing those words in your head, I sure as hell can! Thing is, they're just stories. Stories you tell yourself or buy into. Hell, just look at this guy...
Maybe you know his story through Bohemian Rhapsody, maybe before then. My point is, do you think you're the only one who's faced the challenge of overcoming the voices who tell you that you can't? And, unlike Freddie, I bet you're not facing racism, homophobia or ridicule for having too many teeth. Then again, maybe you are, but there's a way past it. Overcoming and re-writing those stories is all it takes to show the world the legend within & what you're really capable of. That's why today, I'm gonna break down 5 secrets to re-writing those stories & conquering your fear & self-doubt. And if that doesn't sound appealing then you're in the wrooong place, my friend!
Recognising these stories for what they are, that's your first big secret. It may seem obvious but I'd be willing to bet you don't notice how often you tell yourself these little tales. Trust me, it's the little ones flying under the radar which can have the biggest impact on your life. "I can't get up early like I planned, I feel too tired." "There's no way I'm good enough." "It's probably terrible, no-one's going to like it." "I need to smoke a cigarette after food/sex/while driving." "I'm just unlucky, nothing ever goes my way." "Why does this shit keep happening to me?" Any of those sound familiar? Listen, we all have voices in our head. They all sound a lot like you, because they ARE you. Your mind is unbelievably powerful, your thoughts shape your actions and your reality. So, guess what you're doing? You're weaving an internal monologue fed by those negative voices, which traps you in an ever-tightening snare if you don't do something about it. And in the case of the last example, you're asking yourself crap questions. The supercomputer that is your mind is gonna come up with an answer for those lousy questions, and those answers are likely going to feed more stories you tell yourself about how you can't, shouldn't or aren't enough. But hey, those aren't your only thoughts, right? You've experienced their opposites before in moments of triumph where you felt you could take on the world. And if you're sitting there, arms folded, shaking your head and saying, "Nope. Not me, jackass." Well, read on, you might learn something.
Okay, so you're recognising those stories for what they are now. Brilliant. Next comes the hard part. But it's also the easy part! Here goes; those thoughts never go away. Even the happiest or most successful people in the world hear those voices which feed their doubts & fears. The secret is, they've learned to tune them out. They've learned to listen to the other voices just like switching to a different radio station. The voices which spur them on, filling them with confidence & fuelling their drive. "Easy for them, lucky gits." Luck has nothing to do with it. The secret is learning to check those draining stories at the door (which you're already doing by recognising them, by the way) and re-moulding them into something different. Something better. Hey, guess what? You're editing! Thought editing. BOOM. Realise you're no more damaged than any of us for when those draining stories arise. It happens to all of us. There will probably never come a day in your life when they fade forever, but the more focus you pay to checking & re-writing those stories, the easier it becomes. And there's a few ways you can try your thought editing, too. So, mooooving on.
As most writers, storytellers or scrabble enthusiasts know, there's an almost unending array of ways you can arrange your words, each of which carries different impact & meaning when read back. The same goes with those stories you're telling yourself. The, "I can't get up early..." story gets re-worked into, "I know I can do this if I get x amount of sleep." Tell yourself what you can do or what you will do, not what you won't. Always focus the story in a positive direction. "There's no way I'm good enough," becomes, "Others will be better than me, but that doesn't matter. My only competition is myself, I'm doing this for me." I know it may sound hokey, but try it. Seriously. You get in what you put out. Your thoughts shape your actions, put in shit & shit's coming out the other end. Or, in the more eloquent words of James Allen...
This isn't wild existential or new age thinking here, guys, this is fucking science. Every time those stories echo in your mind & bring you down, remember they're just a draft. Get editing. Re-write those stories & ask yourself better questions. It's okay to take a pause from the chaos of the day for it. I mean, honestly, what do we expect our minds to do when we ask, "Why does this shit always happen to me?" It's going to come up with a bloody answer, that's what! And many, too. But imagine if the question was, "This keeps happening to me, what lesson am I missing here?"
Do I need to spell out the kind of answers you'd start reaching then? Nah, didn't think so.
Now what about the words themselves? If changing their order can be so powerful, surely the words are the same? Damn right they are. The main word change I want you to get used to is failure. Guys, there's no such thing as failure with the right perspective. Why not? Because once you learn from something it becomes a lesson. Lessons are not failures, they are how we grow & improve. Go watch or read any interview with successful people & you're going to hear a lot of the same - plenty of times they 'failed' along the journey. Some actively shout them out to the world, unafraid because they know the lesson this 'failure' taught them was crucial to them reaching their goals. And if you're worried what the world will think... honestly, they probably won't think. It's amazing how bright the light of success can shine & cast all those shadows aside. We've all failed. We've all learned & grown. There's no such thing as failure when you learn a lesson, & success is merely a perception. And that's just the tip of it all, the most valuable word change for the goal hungry. This word changing game works like switching biological dials in your mind.
Next time you find yourself enraged, screaming, "This is fucking shit!" - try changing those words to, "That was pretty inconvenient." You can use your words to literally change emotion. And who wouldn't want to make their lows more bearable & their highs more extraordinary? It starts with those words. Turn those great moments into exceptional ones & shift the terrible ones into unfortunate ones. "Buuut, isn't that just lying to myself?" Yes & no. Ever heard the phrase, "Fake it till you make it."? It sounds cliché but it's true. THIS WORKS. SERIOUSLY. TRY IT. Words are powerful. Lyricists, poets, storytellers, orators, politicians, marketers - they all know this already. They've learned the awesome power of the words they use. Time you catch up, maybe? Need another example? Okay, go & watch the TV show Black Sails. Follow the journey of Long John Silver becoming a legend. Pay attention to the stories he weaves & his use of words. See, now you have an example with pirates in, too.
Last but not least, I wanna talk about your state. And by state, I'm talking your personal state, not Nebraska. To quote the infinitely wise Tony Robbins, "Motion creates emotion." There's no better way to explain this than with a demonstration. You guys ready? Get yourself somewhere you feel comfortable. Or not, whatever floats your boat, but do the rest... Stand up. Think back to when you were a kid, running wild, arms flailing, big silly grins, projecting your voice with pure, unrestrained elation, not a care in the world. Got it?
Beautiful. Now re-enact it. Seriously, go fucking nuts. Jump around like an ungainly jester, limbs loose. Cast everything aside in the moment except for recapturing those youthful, carefree mannerisms. Laugh. Smile. Be uncharacteristically merry as if you've had the best news imaginable.
Do that for 30 seconds. Hell, go for longer if you're feeling it! Okay, stop. Now try to be sad or angry. Try frowning. It's pretty impossible, right? You probably managed the frown at most, but even that felt feigned, am I right? That's because you were in a high energy state. You're still in that state, you created it with motion. Now, I'm not saying you have to do this all the time, but hopefully you can recognise that motion really does create emotion. The quickest way to change your mindset is with something physical. Hell, why do you think people get drunk or take drugs? Physical change - emotional shift. Think about it.
I can't promise you instant results or gratification, & if that's what you're looking for I'd suggest you shift your perspective sharpish. What I can promise is that through a combination of these secrets and more, I've found a happier version of me, one who's unafraid to give it his all, release a book into the world, act like a pillock on videos, start blogging & opening myself to the world. Above all, I've found a purpose. And recognising my unconscious storytelling at work was a critical step in taking charge. Fear and doubt can be good things when used to spur you into action, the key is not letting them cripple you. But I promise, you're not alone, we all hear those voices at times telling us we can't or don't want to when we know they're full of shit. Be aware of the voices, the stories of your mind & the ones others try to impose on you. Question everything, & make it a smart question with progressive, thought-provoking answers available. And remember, nothing worth having ever comes easy. It all begins with one small step, though. Take it from there & let nothing get in your way.
“Gotta find me a future, move outta my way.” - I Want it All, Queen
If you've read this far, maybe you'd like to read some more? Well, if you enjoy the darker side of fantasy, with twists you'll never see coming, characters who'll tug your heartstrings, action to keep you on the edge of your seat & scenes which'll haunt your dreams, check out my debut novel, The Nightmare's Truth! Here's a snap from the reviews coming in...
Until next time, Ciao x