Does this question sound familiar?
I know what I need to do, I just can’t make myself do it.
I watch endless YouTube videos, I play computer solitaire, I fool around on Facebook – I even scrub my kitchen floors – all just to avoid the work that I know is my destiny.
I get so mad at myself. Does this mean I’m chasing a Shadow Goal? What do I do?
- Elizabeth, N. J.
Rest easy, honey – you are merely suffering from a biological imperative called “displacement activity.”
All Creative Geniuses get this from time to time.
Displacement activity is what happens when an animal is in the grip of two conflicting instincts, and so they enact a third, seemingly inappropriate behavior.
For example, you’ve probably seen a chimpanzee being challenged by another chimpanzee. When the first chimp doesn’t know whether to run away or fight, he will…scratch his head…yawn…look away….start grooming himself…
When you have the instinct to create, and you simultaneously have the instinct to not-create –
– the fear says, “don’t do it!”
(And yes, everyone suffers from this fear – celebrities, septuagenarians, kids, career professionals and me – everyone is sometimes afraid of putting their work out there. It’s terrifying.)
And so, confused by the grip of these two equally strong instincts, you shut down and get stuck playing Words With Friends for hours on end.
It doesn’t mean you have low self-esteem and it doesn’t mean your dream is impossible and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re lazy.
Shoot, you’re one of the hardest-working people I know. Right?
So the next time this happens, just recognize the dynamic without yelling at yourself.
“Ah,” you might say to yourself, “I appear to be having the instinct to create something. And I also find myself feeling afraid of what will happen if I create that thing. Perfectly natural.
But my fear does not get to make my decisions for me.
So I will now set my kitchen timer for 15 minutes and just play around with my creative idea in a light, fun, beta-testing sort of a way and then see what happens.”
Discover more about what keeps us stuck in my free, on-demand, downloadable webinar called Shadow Goals –
“Wow, Sam, I loved this! I’ve gone from feeling kinda blah and unsure to wanting to jump up and start. That’s pretty big for me, and I really want to thank you for that. I think a lot of people will find this incredibly helpful!” – K.
“Thank you SO much for your time, Samantha! This has been inspirational and hopeful for me….you’ve already given me some tools to use to move forward! Blessings to you!” – Deborah
“This call is invaluable so far to me. I’m being made redundant on the 1st of march and am in the middle of trying to choose what to do next and I think everything you’re saying is going to help me with this.” – Suzie, U.K.
Learn more about “Shadow Goals” here:
No related posts.