You Are Not The Voice in Your Head - You Are The One Who Hears It | Internetly Vol.6
On working with a life coach, the potion for creativity, and saying "yes" before you're ready.
For the past three months, I’ve been working with a life coach. Next week marks our last session.
Chances are you hear “life coach” and it sounds a bit dim-witted. Within our culture of non-stop optimizing, personal coaches and lifestyle consultants are the spokespeople of this movement. They sell us on the promise of us achieving self-actualization.
Naturally, I was apprehensive. But the way coach Alejandro and I met was serendipitous and organic. He stressed coaching had to do with the reveal of one’s true self rather than optimized self. Things snowballed and before you knew it, I had signed a three-month retainer.
We began coaching in the winter. I was burnt out, exhausted, with stressful thoughts coagulating around the edges of my brain.
But I was a dedicated student. Like, really dedicated. On our first week, Alejandro instructed me to go into a park, write two letters, set them ablaze, and then proceed to scream on the top of my lungs.
So, that’s how I ended up in Prospect Park shrieking on the top of my lungs on a Friday afternoon. Like I said - committed to the process.
Twelve weeks, several hours on Zoom, and endless writing assignments later, I’ve emerged on the other side. Unfortunately, I still can’t levitate and I haven’t reached Nirvana.
But, things are different - good different. It’s too wordy to explain on here, but you get the picture.
If there’s one thing I’ve gotten out of this entire whimsical, whacky process, it is the stunning realization self-awareness. After weeks of coaching, I’ve finally recognized that you are not the voice in your head - you are the one who hears it.
With this self-awareness comes blissful objectivity. As touched upon in The Untethered Soul:
“Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone.
You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car? Do you really need to feel embarrassed if you forget someone’s name?
How can you let these meaningless things cause pain?
What kind of life is that?”
So, let go. Be objective. And there’s one last thing I might suggest, go scream in a park.
It is insanely cathartic.
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: The Potion For Creativity
What does “creativity” look like in the brain? Researchers Allen Braun and Siyuan Liu wanted to find out. To do so, they tracked the brain activity of rappers freestyling. 🎤
Off the bat, they found that the artists showed lower activity in their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex.
In plain English, this means the areas we use to make decisions are highly inactive when we’re feeling creative. But the area in our brain we use to make associations between contexts, events, and emotional responses was active.
We’re missing an ingredient for the recipe though: dopamine. The more dopamine, the higher the creative drive.
Events that make us feel at ease or on auto-pilot are where the magic happens. Add a spice of distractedness, which allows your brain to incubate its ideas, and boom: you’ve got some juicy creativity.
Or as Leo Widrich puts it;
“It’s not until we’re being massaged by warm water, unable to check our e-mail, that we’re finally able to hear the quiet voices in the backs of our heads telling us about the insight. The answers have been there all along–we just weren’t listening.”
The potion for creativity is dopamine, distraction, and relaxation. ⚗️
🥒 Content Diet
Each week, 1-3 resources to help stimulate your noggin.
I. Hijos Del Sol by Hermanos Gutierrez
Aside from the usual written medium recommendations, I now present to you: music. 🎵
I just have to share Hijos Del Sol by Hermanos Gutierrez. It is a fantastic album.
Two brothers come together as one when producing melodies rooted in both Western and Latin American sound. The melodies were inspired by the silence of the desert, blazing sun, and countrysides of Mexico. The result makes for something ethereal.
When asked to describe the album, one of the brother replies:
“We are all children of the sun, as the sunlight is at the very core of the matter of life. There is a deep spiritual thought behind it, and an existential question, as to what we’re connected in life.”
Listen to some melodic Western and Latin American sounds this week. 🌵
Adding is Favored Over Subtracting in Problem Solving - Nature Briefing
“A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient.”
Considering our hyper-materialistic and consumeristic society, I’m not shocked by this research’s findings. We have an insatiable need for more, exacerbated by two-day shipping and instant messaging.
The implications for this study could bleed into all aspects of our lives:
You feel as though the decor in your room is hideous. Rather than eliminate some of your musty furniture, you pile on the knickknacks and fake plants.
You want to get fit. Rather than work out and eliminate junk food, you start piling up the vitamins, buy new workout clothes, integrate a new diet, and try intermittent fasting.
You want to be more productive. Rather than putting your phone away and just doing your work, you download three new productivity apps, scour the web for the best Pomodoro Technique timer, and purchase snazzy desk equipment.
Over-consumption is seldom the answer. It can be harmful, and our sacrilegious indulgence impacts our environment, finances, and mental health.
Where in life can you subtract instead of adding? ➖➕
Memento Mori Ring From The Museum Of Ridiculously Interesting Things
“Memento Mori” is Latin for “Remember Death.” Back in the 14th century, these macabre rings were to remind the wearer of their untimely demise.
These rings fell out of fashion around the late 19th century, understandably. By then, we’d grown out of the dark horrors which plagued previous decades; famines, plagues, wars. Being morbid wasn’t in.
But what’s fascinating is these rings weren’t meant to scare. On the contrary, they were seen as a gift. To remind oneself of living a full, virtuous life while you still have the chance.
Live life with intention, or get one of these ghoulish rings to remind you. ☠️
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: Say Yes Before You’re Ready
I posted this tweet a while back yet it remains relevant.
Every time I’m about to begin a project, doubt strikes. I revert back to a childlike state, intimidated by responsibilities and fearful of high expectations.
But I say “yes,” anyways, because life isn’t about waiting to be ready. It’s about taking opportunities when they float to your shores.
A helpful way to take opportunities before you’re ready is to do something called “fear setting” by Tim Harris. It’s when you map out exactly what would happen if the thing you took a chance on didn’t pan out. Specifically, ask yourself:
• What’s the worst that could happen?
• How do I prevent it from happening?
• If the worst happens, how can I fix it?
If you’re a freelancer, chances are you’ll tackle this list and realize, “Wait. It’s not that bad.”
Worst case scenario, you take a project you couldn’t handle. You give the client a refund and usher a gooey, embarassing apology. Besides a mildly-disappointed client and some wasted time, you’re left unscathed.
Now imagine the best case scenario. You take on a new project and exceed the client’s expectations, leading to multiple referrals and a glowing review. Newfound confidence surges within you; if you’re capable of this, what else can you do?
If you do end up saying “yes” to a project before you were ready, send me a message and let me know. I’d love to know how it pans out for you.
Life isn’t about waiting to be ready. It’s about taking opportunities when they float to your shores. 🍀
Thanks so much for reading this week’s edition.
I appreciate you, whoever you are.
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Otherwise, have a splendid rest of your Sunday.
I’ll see you next week,