You’re Not Behind
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Let me talk about two different writing course experiences.
The first one was quite a big one, it went for over a year. We all had to turn in writing assignments on a regular basis, of course, and on that one, as far as I can remember, I did everything on time.
At the time that course was very important to me so I made it a priority. I pushed other things back in order to have time for the writing assignments.
The other experience with a writing course was very different. I signed up for it because the topic interested me (it was a genre course), and when I got the lessons I went through them but I din’t turn in the assignments.
Not one of them.
And until today I think I didn’t even read through all the classes I got.
But I have it stored somewhere so I can go through it anytime.
So, what’s the difference between the two?
On the first course, falling behind would’ve been awful for me. I did everything I could to avoid it.
On the second one, I didn’t care about that at all.
The difference was the importance they had in my life at the time. The first one was very important for me, the second one was just to fill in some gaps whenever I feel like it.
You could say that “falling behind” is a matter of perspective and measurement.
If you let your teacher define when you are “behind” and when you’re not, this measurement is out of your control.
You teacher only sees what you do in his or her course. They don’t know what’s going on in your life apart from that and how important that course is for you.
On the other hand, if you for yourself define what means “falling behind” versus “being on schedule”, you can measure against your own standards.
So, now let’s suppose you’re in an situation where you are “behind” according to your own standards.
What do you do?
First of all you need to look at the whole picture. Because you are the only person that has the whole picture. What is it that you’ve fallen behind at? According to what schedule have you fallen behind?
What often happens is that we set a standard or a schedule for ourselves that is too ambitious. And then we “fall behind” and feel bad about it.
Here is another suggestion:
Instead of feeling bad about it, why don’t you look at the reasons you fell “behind”, be honest with yourself and then acknowledge that the reasons for being “behind” are understandable and you cut yourself some slack.
And then you make a new schedule, set new standards that – based on your experience that you now have with this – reflect the reality of your situation better so you won’t “fall behind” and feel bad.
In other words, you set new standards for yourself, so that according to your new standards you’re not “behind” anymore.
And then you feel good about it.
And then you go back to work on it with your new schedule that takes away some of the pressure.
Yes, I am aware that every now and then we are in situation where we don’t control the measurement standards and the schedule.
Two things about that:
1. More often than we think we CAN control the measurement standards or the schedule if we really take an honest look at things. Not always, but more often than it might seem.
2. Even if there are external measurement standards, and even if someone claims that according to those you “failed”, it’s still YOU who control how you measure yourself. You don’t need to adapt external measurement standards to measure your self worth. They don’t have the whole picture. YOU do.
The problem with feeling that you are “failing”, “behind” or however you might want to call it, is, it shuts down your inspiration because you’re too focused on the “failing” part.
Let go of that and focus on the creating part and you’ll give your inspiration a chance to find you.
If you want to go deeper on how your emotions keep you from being inspired:
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