Sheep Dressed Like Wolves -
This post was written by Andy Mort
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
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.
by Andy Mort | 4 Comments
Is it possible to live in an engaged and enthusiastic way as HSPs and introverts in the face of insensitivity?
Society is not renowned for its sensitivity to the needs, anxieties, and pains of humanity.
In fact we only have to watch certain TV shows to see how brutal it can be. Shows that peddle the dog eat dog reality of a competitive world. Things like the X Factor, The Apprentice, Dragon’s Den etc, don’t dwell for long on the impact of earth-shattering decisions on the individuals involved.
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘rules‘?
For the past eight or nine years I have been on a team that takes a group of kids (who really need it) on holiday for a few days. It is consistently one of the best albeit most exhausting weeks of my year.
It may sound obvious but one of our written collective objectives is simply ‘to give the children a great holiday’.
And from the outset we take time to clearly communicate the boundaries and expectations that we have to respect; where they can and can’t go, what they can and can’t do, and when they need to be in particular places.
We don’t lay on a load of strict rules to make the holiday miserable. We don’t do it because we want to control or annoy them.
We do it in order to establish an environment of safety and freedom. And this is key if we are to achieve our objective.
by Andy Mort | 3 Comments
There is an old zen proverb that says:
A martial arts student approached his teacher with a question. “I’d like to improve my knowledge of the martial arts. In addition to learning from you, I’d like to study with another teacher in order to learn another style. What do you think of this idea?”
“The hunter who chases two rabbits,” answered the master, “catches neither one.”
Do you like to be given permission to think about things?
I get a strange kick out of being able to sit down with a cup of coffee and call a one man meeting to think about my creative vision and goals.
Well thanks to many of you guys generously giving your time and head-space to fill in the reader survey I’ve been able to call a few more of these meetings recently.
And I would love to share some thoughts in response to your feedback.
by Andy Mort | 2 Comments
My phone is like me…
It doesn’t last much longer than a day between charges, especially when it’s multi-tasking, data-roaming, and fulfilling its purpose in the world.
Topping Up the Energy
For the hour or so prior to our long-haul flight from Heathrow to Johannesburg we sat by a charging hub. They have them at many airports these days; a tower of plug sockets and USB ports for passengers to prepare their devices for use.
Knowing that I would be on a flight for 11 hours I wanted to make sure that my phone and tablet wouldn’t run out of juice midair. The ports and sockets were full. Everyone was sat around the magical source of energy, waiting patiently.
by Andy Mort | One Comment
There is nothing that shows your strength better than your gentleness.
It might sound a little bit odd. It may come across as some kind of a contradiction, but if you think about it for just a minute it makes sense.
“Most of us, I believe, admire strength. It’s something we tend to respect in others, desire for ourselves, and wish for our children. Sometimes, though, I wonder if we confuse strength and other words–like aggression and even violence. Real strength is neither male nor female; but is, quite simply, one of the finest characteristics that any human being can possess.”
- Mr Rogers
Strength is the ability to do things that need a lot of physical or mental effort. It’s the choice to continue through the pain even when it feels unbearably hard.
Gentleness breeds peace, calm, and consistency of character. It is not volatile or abrupt in its response to the world.
Gentleness is strength because it remains constant and clear-minded across all manner of situations.
Movement and creativity are close allies. When you’re feeling uninspired or stuck, what do you do?
In this week’s episode of the podcast I talk about why motion is key to loosening up our creative process, broadening perspective, and bringing life to our living.
In an article called ‘When You’re Feeling Uninspired’, Jeff Goins talks about the difference between being blocked and being empty.
He says: Depending on what’s going on today, there may be two reasons for your feeling uninspired:
One may be a real case of what Steven Pressfield calls the Resistance — your own laziness, outside distractions, or some other negative force keeping you from making a difference. If that’s the case, then you only have one choice: show up, do the work.
However, if you’re feeling empty, be careful. You could waste hours sitting in front of a computer screen or with a guitar on your lap. If this is the case, you may need to step away and go do something that fills you up — play with your kids, listen to music, go for a run.