Saturday, August 20, 2011

Believing is Half the Battle

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’ve been wandering around for years, trying different things, hoping to hit the one that fits you just right. Maybe you’ve had trouble believing that this time could really be it.

It’s so hard to know when you’ve finally found the right person…house…lifestyle… dream...story…character. Basically, every thing works against you having confidence in it when you finally do stumble into the perfect thing or person.

You’ll hear things like - “Oh, sure. I’ve heard that before.” Or maybe, “What kind of crazy thing are you up to now?” And the worst part is – some of these terrible words are rolling around inside your own brain. Nobody even has to do a number on you because your own internal judge is busy doing it for him or her.

So, I’ve come to know – after a good many years – that my instincts are almost unerringly correct – IF I actually listen to them. IF I don’t over-analyze them, thereby changing the initial thought or feeling until it is practically unrecognizable. When I take it into myself and begin to believe it immediately, the idea or connection or whatever it is has a good chance of survival.

I’m paraphrasing here, liberally, but Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Blink and in it he said something like – 95% of the time our first instinct is the right one. (My apologies to Mr. Gladwell) Well, not only is Gladwell brilliant, one of the only non-fiction writers I can read and enjoy, but this particular phenomena he points out is one we need to embrace. We often don’t trust our instincts, because it’s been bred out of us.

We don’t need our instincts like we used to – in order to survive the wilderness, lack of food and water, getting eaten by some larger being. And we have families – who have often systematically beaten our natural inclinations out of us (figuratively and sometimes physically). All of this makes it hard for us to trust ourselves. To believe that what feels right probably is right.

Writers constantly battle with the internal judge whose voice is overwhelmingly negative. So, just to get the words on the page, we have to learn to shut that holy terror down. We may be a little more adept at believing than the average bear, but we still need a boost and that’s why I’m writing this piece.

If you – and I – can keep believing in ourselves, in our natural instincts, the tree will bear fruit. The message is simple – believe.


  1. I agree 100% that we NEED to follow our instincts.

    I may not go with instincts being 'Bred' out of us. I think of it as 'conditioned' out of us, because the instinct is still there, buried under a hundred 'you shouldn't's.

    However, that's just splitting a hair.

    Looks like this is a fairly new site. I'll put you on my follow list.

    Best Wishes!

  2. Thanks, Ms Kitty! Glad you stopped by and I appreciate the follow. Bred in the sense of generations upon generations of "you shouldn'ts". My folks hindered in their dreams by their folks. That was hard for me to remember. Anyway - thanks again.

  3. Thanks for this. Over the past few days I've been getting feedback on my book that tells me my instincts about it were right. It's nice to have a little bit of extra encouragement to go along with that at a time when I've been questioning whether I'm making the right choice regarding marketing and the best use of my time.

  4. Thanks so much for the great post! I think you're completely right. :)

  5. I believe in you, my dear. For those of us who've been to the war and back, you can always spot a fellow soldier. My experience, however, your instincts are always right. It's your mind that contains all those nasty thoughts. Your instincts come from elsewhere, and thank god for that.

  6. Yes! We all need to accentuate the positive, especially writers. I like to do creative soul-enriching things to keep the bad negative voices at bay. Great post.

  7. Couldn't post using my account. Don't know why. Do you?

  8. I totally agree. Sometimes those negative thoughts win. You have to believe in your instincts. I have one of those stories too, and I'm working like the devil to get it out there.

  9. Beautiful words! Much needed encouragement for us writers. Thanks for sharing; glad to have found your blog. :)

  10. My favorite Mojo post so far! So true, so accurate. Most of my "poor" decisions in life were the result of ignoring or distrusting my instinct, whether it be a case of going out on a date with the girl I couldn't stand or slamming the door on opportunities that I refused to see. You put this just right, Kathy, and I'm glad that my instinct about my instinct was dead on.

    Landon aka The Universe

  11. I am just getting to so many of these comments from all you lovely people. Thanks so much for taking the time to give the rest of us your thoughts. Red and I thank you for stopping by.