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The Power of Deciding

One of the great fallacies of being a writer is the idea that you should wait for inspiration to start writing. The truth is that pretty much every published writer says the key is to write whether or not you’re inspired.

This “just do it” attitude is true of any creative or passion-driven endeavor. Yes, the idea may be inspired, but there’s work involved in actually getting the thing done. The writer needs to get the words written whether inspired or not, then edit edit edit. The dancer trains repetitively, often fighting through pain. The inventor needs to do the calculations, learn to solder, hunt for materials. The programmer needs to code every line, not just the ones that get interesting results.

Steven Pressfield calls this “The War of Art.” The muse only respects those who are willing to slog through the mud of disappointment, failure, and rejection. It’s like proving that you have what it takes to support a really great idea and bring it to life.

I find this relevant to anything where you’re taking care of yourself, deciding to break a habit, or doing something for your own good. This includes things like going NoCo, deciding to work out and get healthy, changing your diet, beginning a meditation practice.

Often this starts from inspiration, a moment in which you decide to do something differently from what you’ve done before. But once that moment of inspiration fades, then you’re in the work of it, the plateau or frustration which marks the phase when most people drop out or quit.

That’s when you need to make a decision.

You can’t rely on inspiration because it rarely shows up when you’re tired or frustrated or have just experienced a disappointment.

You can, however, consciously decide to remember your original inspiration. You can decide again to do the work to bring that inspiration into reality.

This is when you’ve fully taken on the practice, when you deepen your commitment to yourself and your original goals. You’ll often find that a feeling of self-appreciation and self-respect shows up in this moment as well.

So if you’re getting frustrated about something (particularly something that you’re trying to do to feel better), remind yourself of that original moment of inspiration – but don’t rely on it to get you through. It’s decision time. Know that you can rely on yourself to get through setbacks, that you’re the one in control.

And know that if you can do this about complaining, it will carry forward into other parts of your world as well.

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