No one is safe from the negative thought cycle. At your best moments, the most toxic thoughts can begin to run through the mind for no reason at all. Here are some tips and mindsets that have helped me combat the negativity:
I’m sitting here, typing this out, thinking of reasons why I’ll fail at podcasting.
The negativity cycle starts to spin, some days stronger than others.
Today, the cycle is running on extra steam. Thoughts run through my head like:
Get comfortable at your desk job; you will be here for the rest of your life.
No one likes your podcast, nor do they give a shit.
Go for whatever makes the most money; you’ll never pay the bills off of podcasting.
You are wasting your guests' time; you aren’t worth the people who come on your podcast.
A bit of negativity helps.
The darker side of my mind often leads me to realizations that sit in the blindspot of positivity.
Defeatist notions of our consciousness, whether valid or not, stem from our deepest insecurities and fears that we are too scared to explore.
When the negativity creeps up, as it has on me today, don’t ignore it.
Don’t pretend like these thoughts do not exist.
Observe the darkness but do not give into it.
Make adjustments if necessary, and stay the course. Ask yourself:
What is making me feel like a failure today?
Can I tie a recent experience back to these negative feelings?
Is there someone or something that I’m not addressing that I should be?
It’s normal to want to give up.
It’s normal to believe that you suck at a craft in which you have proven, consistent success.
I’m no iconic podcaster, but I do know what it takes to curate an honest, engaging, and meaningful conversation spanning hundreds of guests on my other podcast called Auxoro.
And some days, my mind tells me that my success is a fluke.
You got lucky.
Your next podcast will be shit.
You’ll freeze up, have a panic attack amidst awkward silence, and everyone will laugh. Maybe you’ll even throw up on the microphone.
Despite these clouds of impostor syndrome, I’m still standing, or sitting I should say (although I do stand for my remote podcasts over the computer. I treated myself to a fashionable standing desk, which I’m using right now.)
On The Tim Ferriss Show, the great Adam Savage describes the negative thought cycle after a particularly crappy day at the shop:
“In this blue funk, I had this thought, ‘You have no business making stuff,’ and the fact is, that judge in me comes up on almost every build. There was not a single build in the five years I spent in that model shop where I didn’t feel like at some point, someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that the relief pitcher was coming out because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing, and it’s time to go home.”
Even Adam Savage, a top special effects designer, actor, educator, and tv personality, cannot escape the grips of impostor syndrome.
Again, these thoughts are normal and run through the minds of all human beings, except for sociopaths. I’ve heard that they don’t feel fear but can mimic it.
Assuming you are not a sociopath, observe the negative thought cycle next time it appears, see if there is any truth to these thoughts, and then politely them to fuck off.
As a lawyer, doctor, podcaster, painter, or any other endeavor, doubting your skill is part of getting good.
What separates the great performers from the good are those that act despite the fear.
As the great Will Smith said, “the best things in life are on the other side of fear.” Always listen to the guy who’s saved the world at least seven times.
Bad Boys for Life.