“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart seemed to live a pretty fast and quick life. He started writing his own music when he was just four years old. When he was six he played violin to the emperor of Austria. At 14 he wrote music for Milan Opera.
As an adult he worked at a furious pace. By the end of his life he had written over 600 pieces of music. A life that ended early, just before his 36:th birthday.
Mozart was buried in an simple way. But went down in the history as one of the greatest composers of all time.
1. Go with your gut.
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.”
People often want to be praised and like positive attention but want to be able to not take negative criticism to heart. But the two go together. To be able to give up one you have to give up your craving for the other too.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy if someone gives you a compliment. It just means that you don’t need the praise. You are sure enough of yourself to not need or rely on praise from everyone anymore to feel good about yourself. You validate yourself. Instead of seeking everyone else’s validation in a rat race that you can keep running in for the rest of your life. Because other people’s validation will never be enough. You may be satisfied for a while. But soon the ego wants a little more.
And for several reasons it is most often better to go with your gut. Three of them are:
- People give advice on everything. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps what they are saying works for them but works differently for you. Perhaps they are just saying things that are a reflection of their own pessimism or negativity rather than of how things actually work. It is often better to just do and find out for yourself what happens.
- You have to make your own mistakes. People may want to protect your from making mistakes, failing and getting hurt. And that’s all well and good. But if you never make any mistakes or fail you will not learn and understand all that you can. Or expand your comfort zones and your life. Or make yourself emotionally strong and self-confident as you learn that you are resilient and can handle much more than you might think. Mistakes and failure can be quite helpful if you look at them in a useful way. Check out 4 Reasons Why Failure is Pretty Awesome for more on this.
- Thoughts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Your thoughts may try to tell you that they are the best things since sliced bread. But often they can become self-imposed obstacles. Or start running in pointless loops as you get stuck in overthinking things. But deep down you feel what the right thing to do is. And if you follow those feelings then in retrospect you often realize that it was the right thing to do. Or if not, then you have a good opportunity to learn a few lessons.
2. You choose how you want to be treated.
“One must not make oneself cheap here – that is a cardinal point – or else one is done. Whoever is most impertinent has the best chance.”
Do you have to be impertinent to get things done? Perhaps not. But you have to choose how you want to be treated. If you go along as you have always done then nothing will change in how people treat you.
The main point to me here is to not make yourself cheap. Your set your own value. And as you do you might as well choose to set that value where you want it. Not where someone else would be most comfortable at or where people have influenced you to put your value in the past.
This may sound a bit counter-intuitive but we choose how we want to be treated. The choice is in your hands. You choose how you expect people to treat you. And that can have a big effect on how you allow yourself to act and how people around you view and treat you.
So you have to be careful with your expectations. If you start creating a role for yourself where you always let people do what they want to you – a role where you make yourself cheap – then you may create some pretty destructive and negative things.
Not only do you create a victim identity for yourself where you start thinking that this is just who you are and that you should just expect and accept that people will treat you poorly. You also create the notion in everybody else’s mind that it’s OK to treat you this way since you aren’t protesting.
This leads to your victim identity being reinforced by the social feedback loop every week. The more people treat you in the way that you and they expect, the stronger your current identity grows.
It’s of course more helpful to use this in more positive way.
So change the way you expect to be treated. Change the way your treat yourself (because that will shine through to other people and they may start treating your in a similar manner). Create and reinforce a new and more positive identity with the help of the people around you.
3. Ideas and insights can show up at odd times. Be prepared.
“When I am travelling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly.”
Carry a pen and paper. Or a dictaphone. Or a cellphone. I prefer a pen and a small notepad, but anything works that helps you to get your thought out of your head and onto something.
This one connects to the first tip. Always write down thoughts and insights that feel important to you. Otherwise they’ll probably disappear as quickly as they appeared. And then you may forget and have to wait until they reappear again (which they often do, in my experience). It’s an unnecessary wait though that can be easily avoided.
Replace the lazy habit of “Ah, I’ll remember it…” with the habit of taking careful notes. It may feel a little bothersome in the beginning, but that goes away when you start seeing how this tiny habit can affect your life.
Check out Why Your Should Write Things Down for more on this.
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