In the beginning - when one's brain had limited discipline and sense of order - Friday used to be a day of the week when I would reflect back upon the various, lofty goals that I had set for that week. If I was lucky, I may have set 43 specific goals and perhaps hit 2 of them.
Net result: an overriding sense of failure. Retire immediately to the dunce corner, self-flagellate with a vacuum hose/cheese grater combo and write out 'Kev iz stoopid!' a total of 573 times, using only a tatty feather quill and a leaky bottle of ink.
Mindset change. This week, I set myself a grand total of 5 specific targets, linked to writing, music and study. By Wednesday, I'd done all of them. By Thursday, I had added 4 further goals I had achieved, which hadn't even made it on to the original target list I'd made on the previous Sunday.
Net result: a sense of momentum and success.
So now, Friday is an odd day, because I've hit all my targets. Cue, an impish, childish sense of fun and freedom.
I had a couple of meditations this morning. Instead of castigating me, my mind looked somewhat confused and disorientated by having an irregular sense of freedom and calm.
Inspirational brain piped up and said 'Oh, this is much better! Now, seeing as you have both time and space, here's a ton of inspirational stuff associated with those novel and short story ideas that you had around 5 years ago in 2015...you know, the ones you received whilst walking home from the supermarket...the ones where you zoned out and nearly got ran over twice! I've been trying to drop these off for bloody ages, but you never seemed to have any free space before...you always seemed to be preoccupied with beating yourself up and filling your valuable loading bays with a ton of nonsensical and irrational junk....;anyway, there's 3 trucks into loading bays, A, B and C, carrying stuff for Novel #3...the other imminent trucks will relate to Short Story #23, Non-Fiction Idea #4 and how to unite them into the blueprints for Novel #5. See? This inspirational stuff is a lot easier when you make space for it and find creative, practical ways to achieve a sense of inner peace...albeit temporarily.'
Inspirational brain has a point. In this high-pressure world, it's so easy to over-reach, or feel that we have to over-perform in order to find success. Remember when we were at school and we messed up a lesson? We'd wait anxiously for a mark, knowing that we had not done well. Sure enough, when our exercise books were returned to us, there might be a tick, or two, but mostly there was likely to be a sea of 'X' marks next to our answers. If we did really poorly, there might be a comment too, to add to the horrible feelings...'Kevin, this is poor!'...'Kevin, did you even try?'...'Kevin. See me!'
How much different when we had nailed something and were met by a crowd of ticks on our page. How inspired we felt to carry on in that vein and get more of them ticks!
Sometimes, we fall short of our expectations. Not because we are stupid, or have done stupid things (well, maybe sometimes), but more often because we tried too hard, reached too high and ended up way outside of our safe, comfort zones, where we feel confident and assured.
Let's be kind to ourselves. Set targets we can reach. Build that inner confidence up to higher levels. Yes, it's true that we can feel pressured by the energy of others, but how often do we fall short because of the pressure we place upon ourselves?