“I don’t like the word nice; it means No Inner Core Evident.”
That is a quote from one of creativity coach Eric Maisel‘s podcasts titled “On Being Too Nice” in which the focus [as the description says] is “on the problem of self-censorship and how too many people, wanting to be ‘nice,’ fail to find the internal permission to say, in their life or in their art, what’s really on their mind. This lack of internal permission is a great blocker and a great silencer.”
He notes it isn’t a simple choice, and may take real courage to be authentic with others, and in your creative work.
Natalie Portman admits she has “always been something of a pleaser: I want to make other people happy. That’s not the worst thing. I mean, the fact that you like people and want them to like you is great—as long as you’re not sacrificing who you are.”
She notes a specific example from her work as an actor:
“I’m not someone who has a lot of regrets, but last year I did something that I wasn’t comfortable with, and I’m really sorry I didn’t listen to my intuition.
“There was a scene in a movie that felt inappropriate for me, but I didn’t want to make waves. So I let myself get talked into it, even though it shook me up. From now on, I’m going to trust my gut more. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is say “no.”
[Parade mag., Oct 28 2007; photo from “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”]
Business and personal coach Molly Gordon provides another example in her Authentic Promotion newsletter [Oct 30 2007]. In her article “Entrepreneurs Who Care Too Much: Why Worrying About What Clients Want Doesn’t Work” she wrote that in developing her new book The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur, “I sometimes worry that readers will need more than I can give.
“Hours, even days, can go by while I wrestle with this concern, until I notice that worrying about my readers has gotten in the way of doing my job.
“God, I love words! When I looked up worry for this article, I discovered that it comes from the Old English verb wyrgan, which meant strangle. How right is that? Worry chokes off inspiration and energy.
“What may surprise you (it did me) is that the origins of care are similarly bleak. Its root is an Old High German verb, charon, to grieve. It’s also related to an Old Norse word for sickbed. Yikes! Suddenly caring for customers and clients doesn’t seem so high-minded.”