giphyI’m a big fan of Zen Habits. The author, Leo Babauta, a self-proclaimed “simplicity blogger & author” who speaks from his own personal experiences, always has great information. He is able to write in a way that not only speaks to you, but allows for you to work with what you have, and move forward.

In this post from March, he brings up a topic that, I think, not many people like discussing: insecurities. Naturally, I began thinking about my own insecurities. This usually leads to some type of mix of random thoughts and coherent philosophies, which I will try to organize here (for your sake)…

Confident-vs-InsecureWe’ve all felt insecure at some point; it’s natural. In fact, even some of the most successful, powerful people have experienced insecurity at some point in their life. So, what’s the difference between the successful people, and the rest of us mere mortals? They figured out ways to not let their self-doubt and insecurity control their lives.

I was listening to a recent podcast from highly successful entrepreneur Tim Ferris. On this particular episode, he interviewed creativity guru Chase Jarvis. Now, as readers and friends know, I like to think of myself as a creative person. I’ve always loved drawing and illustration, and, last year, took the big leap of starting my own website. I started creating more images, took a couple of logo design gigs and started working on a book cover design for a friend… everything was awesome!

Well, for a little while, anyway…

Once the new school year started, my creativity seemed to disappear. Between a full-time job (which I was extremely unhappy in), a part-time job, school (for a career change), and family, my artwork took a backseat (as did my health; but that’s another story). What I learned was that, the less time I devoted to my creative output, the less creative I felt. It was like not exercising; you feel like crap, but, after a while, sitting on the couch not exercising becomes much easier than taking a walk. I started to feel like my life was stalled. I started telling myself things like, “What’s the point?”, “I’m not that good.”, “School is going to take too long, so why bother?”… This happens fairly often, despite the image that some people have of me. Then, on my way into work this morning, I caught this part of the podcast (How to not “retreat into story” [55:24]), where Tim talks about your inner story. To paraphrase, “Whenever you start to say “I am” or “I always”, that means that you’re basically taking the old record off-the-shelf about your own personal issues and pessimism and anger and you’re playing it on repeat.”

Well… damn. He’s right.

That’s a little discouraging; but that’s only because the truth hurts sometimes.

So, rather than use this as an opportunity to beat myself up some more, it’s an opportunity to “change my stars”. It’s going to be hard to change my mental programming; I’m going to mess up. I’m going to upset some people close to me. I may even regret it. But, I know for a fact that if I don’t use this opportunity to do things differently, I WILL regret it. And I’m SICK of living my life with regrets over things I missed. So, in the words of Nerd Fitness guru Steve Kamb (@SteveKamb), it’s time for me to muster my “20-seconds of courage”, move past my fears and self-doubt, and level-up my life.

LevelUpLike Chase Jarvis said in the podcast, “Creativity has infinite returns; the more you practice it, the more creative you get.” (at the 29:17 mark). To use the earlier analogy… it’s like exercising: once you start moving and feeling better, it becomes much easier to keep going (some might even say it becomes something they crave).

Let’s do this.