Hello! I’m back with another entry in my Tao of Creativity series, based on quotes from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. This week, we’ll explore turning weaknesses into strengths and transforming negative emotions into positive ones.
Let’s get started!
“When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong.” (41)
Knowing your strengths as an artist can go a long way to helping you continue on a project, even when aspects of what you’re working on get tough. Challenges during the creative process are inevitable, and it’s during these times that you often discover your weaknesses. This is a good thing. It’s important to realize and understand your weak points as an artist and not ignore these factors. The only way to improve and get better is by working on your weaknesses and elevating them to a stronger level of expertise.
If you’ve ever been working on a creative project and gotten a gut feeling that something isn’t working, that’s your Inner Nature alerting you to a potential issue that should be addressed. It’s important to listen to this voice and look into the issue it’s telling you about. Respecting your Inner Nature can go a long way to ensuring what you’re working on is the best it can be from start to finish.
“Once you face and understand your limitations, you can work with them, instead of having them work against you and get in your way, which is what they do when you ignore them, whether you realize it or not. And then you can find that, in many cases, your limitations can be your strengths.” (48)
Knowing your limitations and understanding the why behind them is a great step toward becoming more self-aware as an artist. We all have our own individual strengths and weaknesses, and understanding both is like studying and understanding both sides of a coin. It’s easy for us to rely on our strengths because those give us confidence in our abilities as an artist. But what if we took a closer look at our weaknesses and developed ways of making them strengths instead of roadblocks?
Being overly critical of yourself and your work can be seen as a weakness and a limitation, but what if you were able to quiet that inner critic and use it at the right time during the process instead of the wrong time? This critical voice is perfect for the editing phase of a writing project, allowing you to fine-tune and hone your work by taking your brain out of the creative realm and into the technical areas of story continuity, grammar, and spelling.
Now, you’ve redirected what was once seen as a limitation and turned it into a positive force that can help your writing and be stronger during the final phases of the process.
Think about what areas of your creative process you feel are limiting or weaknesses. How can you harness those areas and make them work for you instead of against you in the long run?
“[I]nstead of struggling to erase what are referred to as negative emotions, we can learn to use them in positive ways.” (59)
What’s holding you back from creating? What prevents you from fully embracing the creative process and diving in head-first?
Fear comes to mind when I look at these questions. Most people who desire to be creative but don’t take the steps to do so are afraid of internal and external negative forces that could react against them and their work if they decide to do what they want. This is totally understandable, especially since we live in a world filled with negativity, hate, and pessimism; why would you want to put something out there for these angry, embittered jackals to consume?
So, don’t do it for them. Do it for you. Create because you want to create. Create because you have a passion and a desire to create. Create to make yourself and your world better.
Take that fear and turn it into excitement.
“So rather than work against ourselves, all we need to do in many cases is to point our weaknesses or unpleasant tendencies in a different direction than we have been.” (59)
I saw a video from motivational speaker Mel Robbins on YouTube that addresses this concept. Check it out below:
So, the next time you want to be creative and feel negativity creeping in, try Mel Robbins’s trick and see if you can flip the switch and turn those negative feelings into positive, productive ones.
“The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.” (65)
If you have the passion to create, trust the process. It sounds basic, but it’s true. All creativity and artistic endeavors begin at different places for each artist. Give yourself permission to jump in, play with your ideas, and see what happens.
More often than not, we do allow fear to prevent us from even starting. Turn that fear into excitement and get your creative process into high gear. You’ll be amazed at what you can do when you allow yourself to enjoy and have fun.
Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next week!