Sheep Dressed Like Wolves -
This post was written by Andy Mort
I didn’t manage to get a blog post published last week as I was in Cyprus having had the amazing honour of being invited to perform at a TEDx conference in Nicosia.
Truly one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, especially when my luggage (with all my clothes and equipment) didn’t make it onto the connecting flight from Paris to Larnaca. That’s a story for another day; Wednesday in fact when I’ll be talking about it on the podcast.
I’ve been asked by several people if I would share a transcript of the short talk I delivered. So I am taking this opportunity to turn it into a post, which seems to work well. The video itself will be online as soon as it goes through post-production (I’ll keep you updated).
I’ve made it to the century!
One hundred episodes of this podcast since the first one was published on the 11th January 2012. It feels like quite the accomplishment and I am rather proud.
In this episode I reflect on five lessons I have learned on the way to this milestone.
They are lessons that apply to many of the endeavours or projects we might embark on. So I want to encourage you with whatever you are working on or whatever habit you are trying to change.
In many ways podcasting is more of a habit than a creative project because it is an indefinite process which requires commitment and habitual dedication. There is no beginning, middle, and end like most projects. You have to show up every week and the moment you finish one episode the planning for the next one begins.
Have you ever been told to just ‘fake it ’til you make it’? How does it make you feel?
I know that for many introverts and highly sensitive people this is not something that always sits well. In fact it may make you recoil and cringe.
It’s a commonly used phrase suggesting that if you want to become, accomplish or achieve something then you need to pretend to be that thing from the beginning. For example if you want to be confident then you just need to fake confidence and eventually the confidence will become real.
I have a pretty bad habit. Maybe you do too…
When I’m working towards a big goal or event (project deadline, release, exam, performance etc) I often defer requests and demands on my time until after it. The period after the event is like a promised land where I believe time will be somehow infinite and my energy supplies, limitless. It appears to be a magical time when I can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.
How do you feel about being involved in community?
It is an essential part of the human experience. It’s how we’ve evolved, grown, and flourished as a species. And it continues to be important because it creates connection and allows us to flex the innate social muscle that we all carry.
None of us live in perfect self-sufficient isolation. We have family, neighbours, friends, work places, and local amenities, to name a few. Then there are the groups we choose to belong to revolving around things like sport, politics, religion, hobbies, education, art, culture etc.
But it’s not always easy.
How do I continue pursuing my dreams when there are people in my life who make my dreams and me feel small and naive?
This is a question I hear a lot and so I wanted to explore it in this episode of the podcast.
Do you take yourself seriously?
I don’t mean ‘are you serious?’
No, I’m talking about who you are; do you take your hopes, dreams, and passions seriously? Are you committed to living a life that chimes with your deep compulsions, or do you find it easily derailed?
We love to process the world through story. It underpins much of what we know of ourselves and our history.
Take the idea of the stand alone genius for example. The celebrated individuals throughout the years that have transformed the way we think of the world.
The artists, the scientists, and the leaders.
But this image we have of the genius is not the whole picture. There is so much more going on. A bigger story that we all play a part in.
Scenius not Genius
by Andy Mort | One Comment
Where would you focus if someone asked you about the areas of life you need to work on?
Is it a weakness? A failing? Some flaw or shortcoming that you struggle with? Yeah, me too.
And this is something that kind of troubles me.
By default, we often prioritise a focus on our weaknesses rather than our strengths. There is a tendency to frame our growth and development by identifying our blind spots, deficiencies, and limitations, and putting all our might into eradicating them.
Due to limits such as time, energy, and focus, we allow our natural strengths or ‘gifts’ to remain barely touched and unsharpened.
This is understandable. For many, school was all about setting targets to improve the things we struggle with. Reports would contain a little pat on the back (‘Andy used great initiative to build a rocket from a pillow’) and then move into the big ‘but’ (‘Andy needs to focus more on detail in his work’).
This sticks with you.
We continue to think in terms of improving our weaknesses (a perpetual and thankless task), rather than firstly; recognising our strengths in a positive way, and secondly; working to be the best version of ourselves by understanding them and finding roles in different areas of life that enable us to use and sharpen them.
And this can lead us to never feel good enough.
As many of you know the website has been through a few changes this year.
I don’t think I quite realised at the time what a foundation that hour out of a Tuesday or Wednesday evening would be for the rest of this year, and life more generally.
The webinar inspired me to write The Gentle Rebel (and later the Gentle Rebel Manifesto), and focus my attention on finding ways to encourage and equip fellow introverted and highly sensitive people who long to make a difference to the world. I started making a conscious effort to focus.
Then Came The Haven
In June I launched the Members Haven; a private area of the website for subscribers to explore themes more deeply, engage with extra content, and ask questions in a safe place. It has been wonderful to see this grow and change as the members have engaged and crafted the space.
This week saw the start of a brand new Haven feature, the results of which I would love to share with you. ‘The Creative Co-Lab’ is our opportunity to share our view of the world with one another.