"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: Raise Your Expectations

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Raise Your Expectations

People wonder why they don't achieve the success they crave.
I have a theory about that.
I think we all have an inbuilt level of expectation, something rooted deep inside of us. It's often subconscious - and not aligned to what we say to our conscious minds.
For instance, we may do all the things that self help books advise: make plans, set goals and visualize the future. But still, our circumstances never seem to change, we don't get any closer to what we think we really want.
No amount of conscious striving will get us any closer to our goals if our subconscious mind doesn't believe that change, growth and real progress and success are possible - and that we deserve it.
We have baseline expectations about the world that were planted in our brains a long time ago - usually by our parents or by the world we witnessed when growing up.
Seemingly inconsequential things like the way our parents and friends talk about life and how unfair it is - or how ordinary people are thwarted by authority - or how real success is only for the few - these things get suffused into our brains when we're maturing - often when we're at our most vulnerable.
I've lost count of the number of writers who tell me their parents - even their partners - never believed in their writing - that is was all just a waste of time and no good would come of it. And yes it's true that many artists experience years of self doubt about their own ability to achieve success in their chosen field. Largely because they weren't ever truly encouraged - and generally still aren't by society at large.
I believe all this will change as we move into the 21st century. More and more of us will become artists or have art based, creative careers - whether that's in the media, advertising, online, offline or whatever.
It's got to happen because that's where all the big money is exploding these days.
The times they are indeed a-changing.
Of course there will always be riches to be found in engineering, services, retailing, war, money, technology, and in the legal and medical worlds.
But surely this is the first time in history where entertainment of the masses is becoming a very, very big business - and there is sure to be an unprecedented need for writers, musicians and artists of all descriptions to satisfy the insatiable demand for leisure based 'distractions' for the modern consumer.
Could you be one of these artists?
What could possibly hold you back?
One word. Belief.
You need to let go of the 'ties that bind' - the limiting beliefs of your family, friends and partners and even sometimes your own peers.
As the saying goes, if you want to change the world, change first the man in the mirror. (One of the few things M Gandhi and M Jackson could agree on!)
You need to take a look at your subconscious beliefs and see if there's some kind of pre-existing plateau on which your expectations are based.
Where did those limiting beliefs come from? Are they real?
What could you do if you really believed, deep down, that anything was possible - for you?
One way to get a handle on this concept is to look at your life so far.
Have there been times when you felt some avenue of success could have gone further but didn't?
How did you react at the time? Did some personality trait of yours get in the way? Or did events just seem to close in on themselves and prevent real progress?
And importantly, can you trace that closing down of events back to you? Was it something you said or did?
If so - and, if you're honest with yourself, it's usually the case - were your reactions based on what you believed was possible - and what wasn't?
It's all about what you perceive to be real.
For instance, the people who tell us that the world is out to rip them off are very often, sure enough, those that are continually ripped off. You get what you focus on, my friend...
Changing your expectations about what is possible - and what you can achieve - can completely alter your outlook and your prospects.
You need the courage to let go of other people's ideas about how the world works. What's true for one person is rarely true for another.
I see the world as full of two types of people: problem solvers and problem creators.
The first type get ahead and are generally optimistic and fun people. Good company, inventive and a pleasure to be around. The second type try to drag everyone down to their level - where everything is difficult and where every path is thwart with peril. Where life is a depressing series of self fulfilling disappointments.
Our parents and friends and partners, through a misguided sense of overprotection, often fall into this second category. And we need to let go of that.
We need to understand that our world is not like theirs. Ours is a brave new world full of opportunity. A safer place, where there is room for specialization - a place where an artist can thrive.
As long as we expect that to be the case.
My advice?
Release the ties that bind - and release your true potential!
Keep writing!

"The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in." Harold Goddard


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