An Artist's Date With Self Doubt

Some mornings are grey because they blend the white of the empty page and the black of what you meant to write and look back at you with an insipidness that borders mockery. This is one of those mornings. A pile of unpaid bills and a rapidly depleting pantry hang like rain clouds from the roof of my mouth. The most common question that taunts the decision to live a principled life is whether honesty pays. Of course, it doesn’t – it was never meant to. Honesty grants you peace and meaning, but if you are looking at benefit beyond your needs, it is perhaps not the best way to get there. From where I stand, it seems an excellent way to get back to writing on this blog though. I have had the most wonderful year behind me and it just seems to get better each passing day. Last weekend, I was at a writers' workshop with Corinne Rodrigues. My time with her and Aarathi (an old familiar out here) led me to think deeper - more honestly perhaps - about contemplative writing, intuitive painting, and photography, and what I do out here.

I have been seriously challenged to make time or even feel like writing a post. Those who follow me know what I mean all too well. And as many of you are artists and writers yourselves, you know how it is to get your butt back to the writing desk. It is a cool morning after a while, and the tea smells awesome. So hey!

I am not trying free writing (writing without stopping to think or edit) but I am close, probably because I am short on time. The two overwhelming enemies that I have been able to identify in the last several weeks of working with my creativity mentors or catalysts or whatever are self doubt and sloth.

As a writer, I have a daily schedule of writing. However, on most days, I do not produce a single cohesive work. Some days I create an outline, or pick up a piece I had started earlier, and on other days, I edit something that I liked but was not to my satisfaction. However, the fact remains that I write everyday. Many of the writers I admire, like Corinne, create complete works in their day’s writing, and I have always found that amazing. Some of them take on prompts and turn out a new article every day based on random ideas. Others write poems or publish photographs, one incredible piece each day.

As June commences, I decided that I would give it a try too, but perhaps only till I have something to say. I have four year-end papers in June and a slew of other things that I need to get done. The days I cannot get a piece, I can always do a Worst of 2014 (since it looks like I didn't do that). I am filled with apprehension as I begin this series, since the only thought in my mind is that it will turn out to be nothing more than a dull journal. I do not have an outline for the series; I plan to take it one day at a time. I am also excited since it challenges my perception of myself as a writer. I hope that my fears and my hopes will result in a bearable marriage. I hope as I plod along, the outcome will not be a boring narrative but something that will be of use to all who read it. Like an accused unsure of his own innocence, I surrender to you.

What is Peak Performance?

I remembered this blog on receiving a guest post in response to an ancient request.  Not like the summer has dried juices or the pressures of work and home kept me away from keyboard. No, no, no. More like strategic procrastination as I figure out where this blog and its author are headed. Maybe this guest post was the trigger the author needed to commit to visit once in a while. Too. Enough already.

Personal productivity has been of interest to me for decades. When NVL Sateesh began walking me through peak performance a few years back, I watched my years of reading distil down to the principles of mindfulness and intentional living. Sateesh helped me identify and make changes to my frequently self-defeating and wasteful way of living and working, changes that improved the quality of my life significantly.  We are thrilled to have him join our small but growing community of mindfulness practitioners.
Peak Performance Coach, NVL Sateesh
Sateesh is a poet, blogger, psychologist, entrepreneur, and software consultant. His specializations includes school psychology and learning. He conducts life skills coaching workshops and corporate training. He is also a reiki healer and student of yoga. He blogs at To The Endless Return. He will be facilitating a one-day workshop on Cultivating Focus from his Peak Performance program at Hyderabad on June 13, 2015. Over to Sateesh. And hey, thanks. For everything.


There is a widespread belief we use only 10% of our brain power and that we can learn to tap into the other 90% if we train the brain. This is scientifically incorrect. The brain is always performing at its 100% capacity. What this 10% usage perhaps refers to is the power used to work on the current task. Think of times when you were driving on a highway and many kilometers pass before you realize you were not even focusing on the road? Times when you are in a conversation and suddenly figured out you missed the last few minutes even though you were physically hearing? This is what the 10% is perhaps referring to - that only 10% of attention is present on the task at hand.

If you have not watched the movie Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, I would recommend it as a good movie. The movie narrates the story of a struggling writer, who accidentally gets a drug that enables him to access 100% of his brain abilities which turns him into a financial wizard (but brings other kinds of trouble). The drug does not actually enhance his brain capacity, but just makes all the information available in the brain accessible without lapses and fallacies. The concept is interesting to ponder upon. What if we could remember all the information we gather across years? What if we could connect the dots across years of experiences?
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