The worst enemy to productivity and creativity is self-pity.
This morning I didn’t feel like doing anything. It’s a combination of exhaustion from a few days of hard work, and a lack of sleep with a baby in the house.
I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything important, which is a rare occurrence for me. I just felt completely discouraged and defeated. I started overthinking things and doubting myself, and wondering whether anything I do is worthwhile.
I sat there in this funk for nearly an hour and wondered how to get out of it. Should I just forget about today? Should I just give up on this project, because I’m not as good at it as I thought I was?
That’s what I was considering, at least for a little while. But the better part of me knew this mild state of depression was temporary, and so I dug into my own intellectual toolbox for solutions – little tricks of the mind that can have a real effect on reality.
Here’s what works for me – seven things to keep in mind (and do) when you feel discouraged and defeated:
1. You are not the center of the universe (stop making it all about YOU).
I think we all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects us. But this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect.
So this morning, instead of worrying so much about myself, I thought about other people I might help. Finding little ways to help others gets me out of my self-centered thinking, and then I’m not wallowing in self-pity anymore – I’m starting to think about what others need. I’m not doubting myself, because the question of whether I’m good enough or not is no longer the central question. The central question now is about what others need. [Read more…]