Talk your talk
Your attitude is reflected in the choice of words you use to communicate with yourself and others. The "anti-creator' uses words like "can't', "should', "must' and "have to' and creates unwanted stress. Find out for yourself how these small words affect you. Say: "I should do this. I can't do this.' Can you feel how this impacts on your motivation? Remember: thoughts drive your feelings and behaviour, and using words like this will generate "anti-creator' behaviour and feelings.
Creating a "can do' attitude sometimes means changing our thinking and the language we use. Replace the anti-creator words with "I can', "I could', "I want to', "I like to' and "I am doing this'. Say to yourself "I choose to do this' and become aware how this changes your motivation.
The anti-creator also uses small phrases such as "It's too hard' or "I don't know what to do'. Instead, challenge yourself to be specific. For example, challenge "It's too hard' by using "The one thing I am specifically finding too hard right now is â€¦ '. Challenge "I don't know what to do' with "At this point in time, with all the information at hand, my best decision and course of action will be to â€¦ '. As you can see, we always have a choice in our thinking and our attitude.
Walk your talk
Your body language is much the same as words. The anti-creator body language is one of defeat: slumped shoulders, torso sagging forward, head down, arms crossed or in pockets, shuffling feet. When you notice your body doing any of these, be it sitting, standing or walking, simply do the opposite: straighten your back, square your shoulders, lift your head and your feet etc. As simple as it sounds, you'll notice an energetic lift almost immediately.
Make up stories
Another component to our attitude is based on our perception of the results we have created in the past, which in turn impacts on the results we are getting today. How we interpret our everyday results directly affects our thinking and therefore our feelings and behaviour. The anti-creator within us will constantly mull over past mistakes we've made and use them as fuel to reason why to not do something. Mistakes in the past become an excuse for non-action in the present; they may subconsciously stop us from making ideas happen today.
Failure is fun
We all make mistakes. Yet few of us acknowledge how much we actually learn from our mistakes. So the more we embrace the huge benefits in making mistakes as a part of the creative process, the more we change the usual story of hardship and misery. The more you look back at an event and see the learning in it, the more your mind adapts itself to moving on from any setbacks. This reduces the fear of failure. Thomas Edison saw his thousand-plus attempts to create the light bulb not as mistakes, but merely as thousands of tests to see which solution would not work. With an attitude like Edison's even failure can be fun!
Do this: Ten biggest mistakes
Make a list of what you consider the ten biggest mistakes or failures in your life (whether they are personal or professional). Next to each one, write down at least one thing you learnt from the mistake.
DIY success story
If our beliefs and patterns in life reflect the stories we have made up about ourselves which are based on how we review any given event in our mind and not necessarily on what actually happened.
Why not change the stories? We can utilise the notion that our beliefs, patterns and stories are just in our mind or "are a construction of our mind'.
However the mind is extremely powerful, regardless of whether what it creates is based on reality or fiction, so saying "just in our mind' sounds a little dismissive of this power; we do, though, have the choice to reinvent ourselves (if we want to).
The only hurdle we have to overcome when we make up our new, empowering stories is our ability to convince ourselves not to believe. If we say something about our ability and experience that we know contains no ounce of truth because we have never experienced it, or feel that we don't possess any of the needed skills, talents or abilities, then we will consider the new story a fantasy. To reinvent the story we need to create evidence that proves to ourselves we can do it.
Changing our "can't do' attitude is easy when we utilise the pattern-detecting ability of the brain to re-pattern our thinking. Re-patterning isn't brainwashing, it's simply a technique of changing 1. how we see a situation 2. how we think about that situation and 3. what actions we take.
"The can't do' attitude is usually backed up by the sabotage team, "don't know how' and "don't have the experience'. When we re-pattern the brain we are purposefully looking into our past for skills we already possess in other areas that could be applied to the activity at hand.
While we may not have the exact skills, if we look hard enough we will find useful skills that are transferable to the new task or activity. For example, I might think I need specialised research skills to complete this book, and may feel daunted or overwhelmed by this project.
After a bit of prodding, my unconscious mind realises I actually did do lots of research at university as well as in a number of my career positions. Are these research skills transferable? Of course! All I need to do is access the experience of having used the skills for my pressing project.
To help speed up this process and make the certainty of your experience available to you as a reality you need to feel whenever your "can't do' attitude wants to take charge. I have adapted a technique developed by Dr John Grinder, co-originator of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), whose tools in the hands of capable NLP practitioners have for years helped people re-pattern their thinking and consequently change their lives.
This exercise helps to generate a super state that can be used any time you want to be more resourceful and creative. Focus on the three mind-sets that help you realise your ideas: creativity, analysis and productivity.
1. First, find a small movement you can intentionally do and that involves exerting some pressure so that it can trigger the super state. My trigger is pushing my little finger into my thumb. Try it. If it feels familiar, do it the other way around and push your thumb into your little finger. Still feels familiar? What about pulling on your earlobe? Find something you would not normally do, that will not be triggered accidentally but requires you to deliberately engage it.
2. Focus on your area of creativity, find a time where you came up with a creative idea. It doesn't matter when or where it happened. It could be that great idea for your friend's 21st birthday party many years ago, the powerful proposal you wrote last week, or the holiday to a brand new, exotic destination you are already planning for next year. Close your eyes, and step into the event. Make sure you relive the experience through your own eyes, and hear with your own ears. If you see yourself from the outside, shift into your body. It is important that you actually step back into the memory and feel what it feels like to be creative.
3. As you re-experience the event, notice how the feeling of being creative, the excitement of coming up with a great idea is getting stronger. When it is just about to peak (and you will intuitively know when this is so), quickly push your trigger for a moment: squeeze your fingers together or pull on your earlobe with a quick movement. Then let go, look around the room and remember another event. Repeat numerous times.
4. Now, find experiences that come to mind when you think about being really analytical and research-orientated, e.g. reading a book for new ideas and background information, heading to the library for a project, or a conversation with someone where you gathered a lot of information that helped you reach your goal. Now repeat step 3 with this analytical experience in mind.
5. Next, re-discover times when you've felt super productive and gotten things done on or ahead of time, e.g. getting a bid in to buy a home before anyone else, cleaning the house in record time before a guest arrived, handing in a paper before it was due or even arriving early for an appointment. Again, repeat step 3.
6. Finally, after many repeats, test your trigger and notice how your state changes. The more examples you have put into your trigger, the better the trigger will work when you need to get into your super state.
While creating this trigger may take some time, it will eventually help you move to a point where you literally have your subconscious abilities at your fingertips. One squeeze, and you find yourself ready to face the challenges that confront you as you create your ideas.