Immortalised in stone

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAIf my personal sculptor were to carve a statue representing the past year of my life, it would be similar to The Three Graces and would embody the three qualities that have defined me most this year, namely belief, focus and harmony.  Why these three?

Belief is important because this year I finally found belief in myself that I could achieve my aims.  I managed to say goodbye to my inner critic, that horrible nagging voice of doubts that taunts you, telling you that you’re not good enough, you can’t do it, you’re wasting your time.  It questions why you’re attempting something and wears you down to the point that all motivation is lost and you stutter to a halt.  This year, I treated it like a tiresome child, dismissing it every time it came to trouble me, and I got on a lot better without it.  I managed to write the first draft of a novel, join a running club, learn to dance, teach myself crochet, and make a dress using couture techniques, to name but a few.  The critic still rears its ugly head because it’s nothing if not persistent but I am now a match for it.  I brush its comments aside and…

Focus, which is my second point.  Things don’t just happen as you wait passively.  They take effort and you need to focus your attention, not on the end result but on the next small step.  The final goal can be overwhelming, leaving you wondering how you’ll ever get there and sewing the seeds of doubt that the inner critic is only too willing to cultivate.  The complete novel, the party dress, the 5k run – too big.  However, I can write the next sentence, sew the next seam, run to the next tree, and when I get there I can write the next sentence, sew the next seam and run to the next tree, and so it continues step-by-step until with astonishment and exhilaration I write the final full stop, tie off the final thread and cross the finishing line.  Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, says his strategy was ‘to concentrate on the step I was on and to try to do it as perfectly as I could when I was doing it’ – advice worth remembering because it leads to…

Harmony.  When you work in this way, when you pursue your dreams and have belief in your ability to see something through to fruition, when you focus on the step in hand and take time to do it as best you can, and when you finally achieve what you set out to achieve, there is an overwhelming sense of happiness and harmony within.  You are honouring yourself, celebrating your achievements with all their imperfections and you have learnt, you have grown, and you can help and inspire others.  Harmony within spreads to harmony outside yourself, leading to deeper connections with others.  Although some of my activities appear to be solitary pursuits, they have brought me together with others.  I went to a party where I met several other people who enjoy writing so we have formed a mutually supportive writers’ circle; I joined a running club where we encourage each other; I have created gifts for others with my new-found crochet and sewing skills; I have made new friends through dancing.  None of this would have happened if I had listened to my inner critic.

I don’t know what form belief, focus and harmony would take if they were to be immortalised in stone but I trust my personal sculptor to create an appropriate and aesthetically-pleasing representation.

It’s now time for you to banish your inner critic and pursue your dreams.

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