This is a fairly bold statement, though it has not been made without some thought on my part. I honestly think these two concepts, if addressed, can lead to a big reduction, if not complete obliteration, of various or most problems at all levels, personal up to international.
As this site is for creative professionals, crafters and other makers, we’re talking about applying this to our personal lives as professionals and individuals. If you think about it, so many of our issues can be rooted to failure in addressing one or both of these two things: ignorance and self-loathing (or self-disagreement at various degrees).
This, obtuseness, illiteracy, naiveté, or whatever you might call it, equates to a lack of understanding of anything and everything, and is solved by the acquisition of knowledge in its many forms.
Ignorance can account for prejudice and inequality, but it can also explain why your business isn’t working (you don’t understand finance or your clients) and even why your relationship is failing (you don’t know or understand your partner and vice versa).
How can we work on addressing ‘ignorance’ in what we do, so that we can break through barriers and make positive progress?
- Improve your understanding of the business and admin side to your career by reading up and taking courses.
- Research your target clients so that you gain a better understanding of them, so that you can serve them in the best way.
- Improve your own craft through further acquisition of knowledge and experience through courses.
- Start a blog and develop your expertise on something through self-teaching and sharing.
- Ask people in your industry who have already succeeded what they did to get there.
- At a higher level, support education causes in developing countries, or spread an awareness of the issues facing poorer societies to people in advanced countries, for example.
With this, I’m talking about any form of self-directed dislike, ranging from a lack of self belief in some situations, to full blown self-hate.
My guess is that many think this isn’t a problem worth discussing, and that this isn’t actually an issue that is common. It’s taboo to talk about the idea, but the fact is, that to whatever degree, self-loathing is everywhere and it is rife, in most, particularly advanced societies. It features in most mental ‘disorders’ too, and is perpetuated by a combination of the Media, the economy and modern day stresses.
The key to progress and success is that people support and get on with each other, which is only made possible through some semblance of self-love and self-belief first.
When we nurture a deep love and respect for ourselves, external stresses inevitably decrease, and internally rooted output, productivity and energy emerge without effort. In this way, you become an asset to the world, as opposed to a drain.
Think about the effect this would have on you, your friends and the world when combined with tackling ignorance too. This not selfish, this is vital.
So how to address self-dislike for the better?
- Be ok with doing things that make you feel good and treat yourself the way anyone would who truly loved themselves.
- Self-affirmation: drown out those negative thoughts about yourself with replacement repetitions that affirm your worth and greatness, or just ignore those worries.
- Do things that push you out of your zone of comfort and feel the rush and self-respect this generates.
- Help others, and see what an effect this has on your own self-confidence.
You’ll find that tackling these two will have a profound influence on your creative careers and beyond.
This article started out as a quick thought on a train in Japan, but I hope its simple, central message resonates and leads to some positive change at any level.
As usual, I’d love to read, and interact with, your comments.