Last week I never got to send out a newsletter for which I’m sorry.
I was in LA having meetings about one of my projects. The meetings were great. I felt happy, but also fearful of the outcome. I knew from experience, that this apprehension would be fatal to the project if I allowed it to continue. I applied myself to remaining positive.
The hardest part of succeeding anything is to understand that success is a verb, not a noun. It’s not something you get, like an award, it’s a process of continuous small wins that add up to a book being written or a movie being made.
The place that you are most likely to fail is on the eve of success — just when things seem to really be going your way. Old problems will reappear, other new problems will appear to distract you. My way of coping is to say aloud, “I pronounce this good,” no matter what the problem is. I laugh, relax, and gain a fresh perspective. This statement also reminds me to look for any good that can be retrieved.
The single most important thing for me is to understand how change, however good, threatens my feeling of safety. Our natural instinct is to avoid change because back in ancient times, change could mean that we were going to be eaten by a raptor!
Before Columbus found land, he saw floating branches in the water and birds flying overhead.
He rejoiced that these were a sign that land was near. Looking for signs of success is a way to maintain the optimism necessary to allow these signs to coalesce into success.
For me, after a series of very good meetings, I must fight feeling discouraged. My grandmother used to say “Don’t steal defeat from the jaws of victory.” Why is this so important?
To ensure success, however you define it, you must maintain a positive momentum. When I have doubts, I remind myself of this story of the man who went out West to mine gold. He dug and dug until his doubts and fears over took him. He sold his business to a fellow he had hired to help clean up. The next week, this man found gold three feet from where his predecessor had stopped digging. Never give up! The way to do this is keep your spirits up.
A great exercise to feel optimistic is to consider others who have succeeded in spite of great odds. Who do you admire? Find a synopsis of their story. Read it and then rewrite their story, substituting your own facts. Then, take the twists and turns in their story, and embellish it.
For example, I have always admired Madame Curie, the scientist who discovered uranium. I like this website which has many brief bios: https://www.biography.com/ . I printed out her bio and wrote a new one combining stories. I immediately began to feel happy and excited, and also had a flash of gratitude. Madame Curie’s mother died when she was ten, and her husband was killed in a bus accident, while my mother lived a long happy life, and both my exes are still alive and healthy!
Writers write, and by attempting to rewrite something someone else wrote, we can often find our own point of view.
To recap: Change is hard to accept, whether good or bad. To help acceptance, say aloud, “I pronounce this good.” Your amusement at the absurdity will set you free of a negative response so you can keep your spirits up. Secondly, write a new life story for yourself using a personal hero or heroine as a model to imagine a new story of great success.
Wishing you a great holiday weekend!
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz