One Apple A Day #467 – on self-doubts

Self-doubts are thieves.
They sneak into your mind, and they steal your self-confidence and your creativity.
It’s an awful feeling to stare at a blank page realising that you’re as empty at that page.

Sometimes life tests us.
Things don’t go exactly as planned.
The expected results are not coming.
The self-doubts lurk in.
And before we realise it, we are questioning everything.

I know the feeling.
I’ve been there often.
It still happens.

We all have moments of doubts and fear when we question what we do and who we are. I used to rely on self-reflection to find my way out of those moments. But in doing so, I was adding even more questions and making the hole bigger.
I was feeding my fear.
Now, when it happens, when the self-doubts arrive I ground myself in my rituals. I stop the thinking that is just feeding my self-doubts and rely on the habits and structures that I created when my self-confidence and my creativity were full and energised.

“Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralysing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.” – Vincent van Gogh

One Apple A Day #463 – Honest conversations

I began journaling years ago.
It’s one of the morning rituals that help me reconnect with myself.
Over the year I’ve adapted my journaling to my changes, but one thing never changed; I never read what I write. Never.
Once my thoughts and feelings are out of my mind and heart, black ink on white paper, they are gone.
I don’t read what I write in my journal because I soon realized how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with myself.
Every transformation starts with an honest conversation. One in which we acknowledge that we want to change something and we bring it out in the light.
I always knew that these kinds of conversations with others are difficult. There is the fear of the judgment, of the pain that we can feel or cause, of the unknown that can emerge.
But it was only when I started journaling that I realized how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with myself.
I never thought that I could be so good avoiding the truth when talking with myself. I could lie to myself even when I know, obviously, that I am lying.

Yet, no transformation can start without an honest conversation with myself. My never-read-it-again journaling ritual is a safe space where I can have a frank dialogue with me.

Do you have a safe space where you can talk honestly with yourself?

One Apple A Day #461 – You are an artist

It’s often a surprise when you meet, in person or through stories, the man or woman behind the artist.
I remember some encounters after which I was perplexed, asking myself “How can this person be the same who wrote those beautiful and inspiring songs?”

On the surface, this distance between the person and the artist may seem a lack of authenticity. But if we look a bit deeper, we can see that they are just different vibrations of the same energy.

Human beings have the potential to do things that are bigger than themselves. Things that go beyond the limitations, weakness and miseries of their human form.
This ability is more evident in artists, but it is innate in everyone.

We all have the power to go beyond our human form.
To make our actions and words bigger than ourselves.
We are all artists.

Are your actions and words bigger than yourself?

Are you inspiring and uplifting yourself and others beyond your limitations?

One Apple A Day #459 – You are creative

We’re all born creative. It’s our nature.

Can you think of someone more creative than kids playing? They can transform every object in a new game, any space into a new world.

Then something happens while we grow up.

Studies are showing that our creativity dry out while we go through school and when we become adults, for must of us, it looks like it’s gone.

We get stuck in the logic trap.

We do things only when they are reasonable.

When we can predict the outcome. And in doing so, we become blind to what is possible beyond what is probable.

Unfortunately, when we are called to face the unpredictable, some crack.  They can’t see a way forward, and so they hide moving backwards.

But we are all born creative.
Creativity is there.
It doesn’t disappear.
We just need to create space in our life for creativity to expand.

When I feel stuck in something, and my mind can’t find a way forward, I ask myself questions such as:

  • What would I do if this was just a game?
  • What would I do If I know I can’t fail?

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate. — Steven Pressfield

One Apple A Day #458 – just begin

Sometimes all it takes it’s just to begin.
To do something.
To write a word.
To draw a line.
To say a word.
Whatever as long as you set things in motion.
Sometime our goals may be scary.

When I was leaving in London, I used to go out running early in the morning.
Midway in my usual path, there was this beautiful place called Primrose Hill. As the name suggests, it’s a nice little hill from the top of which you can enjoy a fantastic view of the city.
Little but with a steep slope.
I knew that I wanted to see the dawn from up there but, being midway in my running I was scared by the climb.
For a while, I got there only to take a look and then start my way back.
Then one morning, inspiring by something I read, I decided to go for it.
That day I didn’t look at the top, at my destination.
I knew very well where it was.
Instead, I kept my gaze on my feet.
One step after the other.
A bit worried at the beginning but, in the end, it was just about taking a small step. And another small step.
And then I gained momentum, and before realising it, there were no more steps to take.
I was at the top.
The city before me.

It’s great to have bold and audacious goals, but sometimes those same goals may stop us from acting.
Once the goal is set, stop thinking about it. Find the first small action you can take to go in the direction of your target and put all your attention on that. That step is all you have to worry about.
And once is done, move to the next one.
Keep focusing on your next step until you gained momentum.
And then you are unstoppable.
Ready to conquer your hill.

One Apple A Day #457 – be the pivot

How often do you find yourself in the midst of a tension between two forces? Maybe it’s between you and someone else, or between two choices, or between what you want and what others want.

Being there, in that space in-between two divergent forces can be stressful. Our soul stretched being pulled in opposite directions.

A client once gave me a beautiful metaphor for these situations.
It’s like being the ball in a pendulum, swinging left and right.
Pushed and pulled by both sides.

Typically, what we do is to find some kind of equilibrium in the middle. What we call a compromise. But, with forces on both sides pulling us, to stay still takes a considerable effort. It consumes our energy.

If you take a look at the picture of the pendulum, there is a point that doesn’t move; the one at the top from which the ball is hanging; the pivot. It just stays there, being itself unchanged no matter where the ball is.

Anytime I feel I am in the middle of tension, with opposite forces pulling me in different diversion I asked myself a simple question.

What does it mean, in this situation to be the pivot?

Most of the time, this question leads me to the source of the matter, where the key questions lay.
Next time you find yourself between two forces, instead of looking for a compromise, try to look at it from the pivot’s perspective.

One Apple A Day #450 – Breathe

Take a pause.

Breathe.

In the last two days, I discovered the power of slowing down.
It is as if all the parts of me, that have been flying around while I was busy doing stuff, all of a sudden sank back and I’m whole again.

You are pulled in many directions every day; your attention and energy split in small streams.
But the world around you spins so fast that you struggle to keep the pace while keeping all the parts of your life together.
All of you together.
You’ve learned to prioritise and focus on one thing to maximise your performance. And in doing this, sometimes you feel you are sacrificing your integrity.
Your wholeness.

I see you.

I feel the same.

That’s why I’ve decided to take a pause last days.
To slow down until I was staying still.
And while all those streams, all those part of me were coming home, I began feeling whole again.

If you feel you’re losing your integrity, just breathe.
Take a pause.
Even if only for a few seconds.
Take a pause and just breathe.

One Apple A Day #448 – be creative with your weaknesses

I believe in the transformative power of small daily practices.
If I want to learn a new skill, develop a new behavior or become better at anything, I create a daily habit. Something, small that I can integrate seamlessly into my life and in my environment.
I love to experiment and play new practices.
It transforms everything into a playful experience.

For a new practice to stick, it must match my passions, my values, and my strengths. This way I can create the consistency needed to make it a habit.

The other day, however, I was facing a different type of challenge.
I didn’t want to learn something new.
I needed to stop doing something.
I wanted to get rid of a habit that it’s affecting my focus and my productivity.
When I don’t have something planned like a meeting or a session with a client, instead of tackling an item in my to-do list, I end up wandering aimlessly online between useless videos and not-so-interesting articles.
At the crossroad between work and idleness, I just go with the path of less resistance.
Anytime this happens, I feel guilty.

I tried many solutions from better planning to external accountability, but nothing really worked.
I know how to create a habit, but how do you get rid of one?
One that plays on my weaknesses.
In this case laziness.

And then, in a session with my fantastic coach, it hit me.
The answer was in that same weakness.
I just needed to be creative by being more who I am.
In this particular case, I decided to use my passion for stories as a way out of the unwanted habit.
I now keep a novel always at hand. Anytime I feel I’m dragged towards a time-wasting activity, I take out my book, and I start reading.
I’m still not doing the things in my to-do list that I should do.
But at least I don’t feel guilty at the end of the day.

One Apple A Day #447 – Of wisdom and soul

Every morning I do this small ritual using the Be The Change cards.
I sit down with my eyes closed, and I shuffle the cards.
The intent for this ritual changes every day; an inspiration for my writing, a new perspective about something that it’s stuck in mind, or just an idea to kick off the day meaningfully. Then I pick a card, and I let it sink in my awareness for a few seconds.

This morning I went through my ritual as usual with the intent to find inspiration for this post.

But I while I was observing the card that I picked — Deepening into own wisdom — I realised that I chose two cards. There was another one stuck behind.

As you can see in the picture above, the second card has the word “Soul”.

The invitation from the cards is so vivid and compelling that I don’t think there is much I can add.

More and more in the last months, I’m becoming aware that my path to wisdom is taking me beyond my mind, my knowledge or my understanding.
It is a journey of the soul and into the soul.

“It’s the heart that knows the path. The mind is just there to organise the steps.” — Jeff Brown

One Apple A Day #446 – Attention, please.

I love words. There can be so much power and wisdom hidden behind a word we use regularly.

Like the word “attention“. It came out in a few conversations lately, so I felt the urge to give it some attention.

The word “attention” comes from old Latin. In particular, it’s the combination of “ad“, meaning “to, toward” and “tendere ” meaning “stretch“.

So, to give attention to something means to stretch yourself toward that thing.

The first image that comes to my mind is an elastic band. One tip connected to you and the other one to the thing you want to focus upon. To give attention to something means to stretch yourself until you can attach this elastic band to the object of your attention. The stronger the elastic band, the more you will be drawn toward the object of your attention.

Your attention is a superpower, use it wisely.

  1. If you want to achieve a goal, the first step is to put your attention on it. This way you will be pulled towards the target, and you’ll get there with less effort.
  2. If you attach your “attention” to many objectives, you will be pulled in different directions. Maybe even opposite ones, making any movement almost impossible. So, it’s a good idea to invest your attention on one thing at the time.