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Our insecurities and doubts may not be just a matter of objective competence. For example, two actors noted for being able to create distinctive and powerful characters have made revealing comments about their own identity insecurities. The late Peter Sellers once said, "If you ask me to play myself, I will not know what to do. I do not know who or what I am." And Jennifer Jason Leigh [left] has claimed, "As a person, I don't really register that much."

> from article: Identity and Creating - by Douglas Eby

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Irish writer John Banville has won The Booker Prize, the world's most prestigious award for new fiction. Judges said his novel "The Sea" is a “masterly study of grief, memory and love recollected."

Just before the announcement, the author seemed certain that he would not win: "I tend to think all my books are bad,” he said. .. [LA Times Oct 11, 2005]

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Gay Talese on writing his latest book

Due in 1995, "A Writer's Life" was delivered 10 years late.

In memos to himself, Talese was unforgiving: "Where are we going? Just completed no progress for one month!" he said in one note.

Despairing, he confessed: "I continue asking myself, as I have before, what am I doing here? Where's the story? What's the point? Does it matter?" Echoing a writer's worst fear in yet another memo, he asked himself: "When are you going to get back into print???"
In the end, Talese found the narrative thread that had eluded him for years, offering in the bargain a revealing glimpse not only of his own life and times but of the wrenching self-doubts a writer sometimes endures.

As Talese has described it, "Writing is like driving in a tunnel with the lights out. You don't really know where you're going and it's never a straight path.... At some point, you get to a point of total frustration as a writer," said Talese.

"And so you have to go out and do something, even if you don't know if it's the correct thing to do. You just do it! Get out there! Forget whether it's right or wrong. Just do it."    

From “Gay Talese's marathon quest for a new book led back to... himself.” By Josh Getlin,  Los Angeles Times April 23, 2006 (photo: Carolyn Cole / LAT)

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Cultivate honesty about oneself and the quality of one's work. Over self-criticism can be debilitating, but insufficient self-criticism is the handmaiden of mediocrity and, often, failure.

Nigel Hamilton -- quoted in list The Written Word -- Quote a Day 4/6/04: Self-Criticism

*related page :.....self-esteem / self concept.

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Writers and other artists are often self-deprecating and openly critical of their work. Sometimes humorously or facetiously, but often seriously. Are talented people more likely to be critical of themselves and their work?

Pursuing excellence demands evaluating both our work and ourselves in various ways, but highly talented people are, according to writers on giftedness, often susceptible to perfectionism and unreasonably high standards and expectations that can be self-limiting.

A number of actors report being dissatisfied with their performances on film; some won’t even watch dailies or see their finished movies. And a high level of talent does not assure you will always feel you are “good enough.” Meryl Streep admitted in an interview last year, “I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing.... You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent...”

Lesley Sword, director of Gifted and Creative Services, Australia, notes in an article that gifted children [who happen to grow up to be gifted adults] are “highly self critical and over reactive to the criticism of others. They express dissatisfaction with themselves; they see what ‘ought to be’ in themselves... They have a vision of perfectionism that they measure themselves against and they can become despondent sometimes even depressed, at their perceived failure.”

And that indicates the shadow side of being overly critical of our work, our abilities and identity: it can deflate and depress, corrode our creative vitality.

> continued article: Being Creative and Self-critical - by Douglas Eby

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The Self-Esteem Supercharger

Michael Cestone

Many professional and recreational athletes have found listening to the Self-Esteem Supercharger before a game or match improves their performance.

Professional soccer player Michael Cestone says, "I had tried subliminal tapes with limited results, so I had to try the Paraliminals because they were different.

"I was desperately looking for something to help me prepare for the season. I noticed results immediately.

"The first time I used the tape I felt more focused and was able to read the game better, as well as make faster decisions. That was only the beginning.

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More details about the above program on
Personal Growth Information

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Step 3. It's time to rebel against any old memories of limitation. Against scars from criticism. Against denied encouragement and recognition. Just rebel!!! Get over it!

OK -- so you came to believe that something was wrong with you. That you were somehow imperfect or limited.

Just stop buying into that. It's false, and no longer appropriate for who you really are. That's what is meant by the expression, "You become exactly what, and who, you think you are."

That is, you are NOT a poor writer or an inept actor -- but if you BELIEVE you are, you WILL act in that way.

> from article In Praise of Rebellion - by Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler

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I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing.... You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent. It could be about not feeling able to achieve a certain scene or about an emotion you feel you weren't able to get to... Or that you're boring and they're going to find out that you don't know what you're doing... any one of those things.

Meryl Streep .. [The Sunday Times Magazine, October 2004]
> photo as Sen. Eleanor Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate (2004, Paramount)

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Kate Winslet : Over the years, the stakes have become higher for me. Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going oft to a shoot, and I think, I can't do this; I'm a fraud. They're going to fire me -- all these things. I'm fat; I'm ugly; I look like a whore! [laughs]

[Interview mag., Nov, 2000]

> related page :...
impostor syndrome.

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Some Traits of creative people

from Creativity and Creative Problem Solving list, June 5, 2000, post by Robert Alan Black - 
author of book Broken Crayons: Break Your Crayons and Draw Outside the Lines

In 1980 as part of my doctoral studies of Creative Thinking I did a study of the traits of Creative People. I chose two educational journals and two psychological journals and searched for articles on the traits of creative people from 1950 to 1980. In total their were over 150  researchers and experts on creativeness, creative thinking, creativity and creative people.

From the list came over 400 separate traits. From that I pulled out 32... including:

sensitive    not motivated by money    sense of destiny     adaptable tolerant of ambiguity
observant     perceive world differently     see possibilities     able to fantasize    flexible    fluent   
self-knowledgeable    divergent thinker    curious    independent    severely critical ....

more on page - giftedness: characteristics

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Women are often so terrified of being imperfect. They don't want to be laughed at. And it holds them back. Young men are taught to take criticism in a kind of impersonal way.

Psychologists have documented that women believe that approval is like oxygen, which can make it too painful to be a risk-taker or leader because you're too visible and the criticism hurts so much. ...

Women have been raised not to step up to the plate. They're supposed to think it's cute to say, "Oh, I can't do it. Oh God, I can't believe this." That's considered feminine, but it's really a lot of whining.

Naomi Wolf - quote and photo from Woodhull Institute

> more on perfectionism 2

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A team of researchers reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [1998] that women who wear skimpy swimsuits find that their ability to solve academic puzzles shrinks.

The problem, says psychologists Barbara Frederickson and Tomi-Ann Roberts is that women are so self-conscious.. that they tend to "step outside their bodies" to view their looks critically.

Female test subjects "were so self-conscious about wearing a bathing suit that it affected their mental alertness," Roberts said.

> more on body image 2

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Creativity at the organizational level can affect the individual level.
However, because we have an inner voice of blame, criticism and fear within us,
we avoid
the individual work necessary. ..,

Individual creative strength is a prerequisite for organizational strength.
The key in this individual
creative process ironically is destruction.
We must destroy our Voice of Judgment to be
fully creative.

Michael L. Ray:  - from "Creativity in Business: Individual Enlightenment
Within Organizational Transformation", The InnerEdge Newsletter, Oct/Nov.99]

Michael L. Ray, Ph.D. is author of book Creativity In Business

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Many of us perpetuate negative self-talk about talents that we don't accept.

Self-criticism can seriously injure potential talent that wants to be expressed.
This negative self-talk comes in a variety of forms.

Sometimes we hear it in our own voice. It says things like: "I don't really have it.
I'm not good enough. It won't work. I'll fail. I'll make mistakes and look foolish.
I can't make a living with my talent." ...

Fortunately, talent waits patiently behind our fear and self-doubt...

By confronting those critical voices in our heads, it is possible to disempower them.

   Lucia Capacchione, PhD  - from her book: Putting Your Talent to Work

When self-criticism and external standards are removed, the expressive arts 
allow our soul voice to flow through more readily. ....

Lucia Capacchione, PhD  - from her bookLiving With Feeling: The Art of Emotional Expression

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Martin Seligman.. has described an effective technique for countering what he refers to as "catastrophic thoughts."

The trick is first to recognize the despairing idea -- "I'm the weakest employee in the department, and I'm probably going to get fired" -- and then check it against real evidence, as if the statement were being uttered by another person trying to make you miserable.

By arguing with yourself in this way, Seligman has shown, you can separate beliefs from facts, defusing many pessimistic assumptions by editing them according to logic and evidence. ...

Psychologists find, for example, that depressed people often turn small foibles and mistakes into stinging self-criticism. 

In studies during the 1970s and 1980s, Seligman and other investigators showed that depressed people who learn to recognize and disarm this kind of reflexive pessimism and self-attacking can free themselves of feelings of worthlessness, fatigue and other symptoms of the condition.

> from article Searching for a happiness strategy by
Benedict Carey [LA Times, Dec 9, 2002] 

- more quotes on positive psychology

> book: Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment - by Martin E. Seligman, PhD.

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Gifted children.. are highly self critical and over reactive to the criticism of others
They express dissatisfaction with themselves; they see what "ought to be" in themselves 
and they can be unhappy with "what is". 

They have a vision of perfectionism that they measure themselves against and they can become despondent 
sometimes even depressed, at their perceived failure.

> from article Psycho-social Needs: Understanding The Emotional, Intellectual and Social Uniqueness 
Of Growing Up Gifted - By Lesley Sword

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Emotionally intense gifted people often experience intense inner conflict, self-criticism
anxiety and feelings of inferiority. The medical community often sees these conflicts 
as symptoms and labels gifted people neurotic. 

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Clients who are passionately engaged with their talent but are constantly separated from the creative experience by relentless self-criticism, self-doubt, and feelings of inferiority often suffer from another type of block.

It is often accompanied by depression and the periodic shutting down of their spontaneous creative impulses.

from article: Counseling Issues with Recognized and Unrecognized Gifted Adults by Mary Rocamora

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Are you determined to do your best at all costs?
Do you feel inadequate to measure up to your personal standards?
Are consumed with self-doubt and self-criticism?
Is self-perfection or the perfection of your life's work the central driving force of your existence?

> from 7. Perfectionism section of self-tests: giftedness / exceptional ability

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Jennifer Jason Leigh: I look at acting as my life. I invest almost everything I can in it. ... I do a lot of head stuff before I get there, but once I'm there, doing my part, it feels instinctual and it's where I'm freest.

If you're going for something that's honest, you have to be very honest with yourself. You're facing the truth about yourself all the time. Some of those truths you don't always welcome, because they can highlight your limitations or your inabilities. These are the stumbling blocks that you have to get past somehow. ... It's exciting and it's paralyzing. ............[Interview mag., Jan, 1996]
*related pages:.....anxiety.......intuition / instinct........the shadow self

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"Don’t Quit Your Day Job" : 3 Ways to Keep Criticism from Getting to You - By Valerie Young
There are two kinds of negative feedback, the kind that – as painful as it is – is generally accurate and helpful and the kind that is totally without merit.

The Inner Critic  (issue of Living The Creative Life newsletter - includes book references on dealing with destructive self-talk)

The Inner Dialogue - By Remez Sasson
The process and effect of these inner conversations is similar to affirmations. Constant thinking about the same subject influences the subconscious mind, which consequently accepts these thoughts and words and acts on them. Negative inner dialogues bring negative results, and positive inner dialogues bring positive results. You can use this process to your advantage.

Internal barriers, personal issues, and decisions faced by gifted and talented females - by Sally M. Reis, Ph.D.
[excerpt:] On the other hand, concern over mistakes, perceived parental expectations, and perceived parental criticisms were the salient factors for the gifted unhealthy/dysfunctional female perfectionists. They possessed a fixation about making mistakes that resulted in a high state of anxiety. Their definitions of perfectionism focused on not making any errors.

Negative self-talk - by Douglas Eby
"When negative self-talk robs us of our enthusiasm for our dreams, we're suffering from the classic creative block... Self-criticism can seriously injure potential talent that wants to be expressed." These quotes from the book "
Putting Your Talent to Work" by Lucia Capacchione and Peggy Van Pelt emphasize the damaging impact of some "inner dialogues" we may have with ourselves.

Self-Knowledge, Self-Esteem and the Gifted Adult - by Stephanie S. Tolan
Many gifted adults seem to know very little about their minds and how they differ from more "ordinary" minds. The result of this lack of self-knowledge is often low, sometimes cripplingly low self esteem. Though women are particularly hard-pressed in our culture to recognize and fully utilize unusual intelligence, uncertainty about gifts can affect both males and females, especially those who are not recognized as intellectual achievers.

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Melody Beattie. Stop Being Mean to Yourself: A Story About Finding the True Meaning of Self-Love

books by Nathaniel Branden, PhD:

Honoring the Self : The Psychology of Confidence and Respect

Self Esteem at Work

A Woman's Self-Esteem: Struggles and Triumphs in the Search for Identity

Robert J. Furey. You Are Good Enough : Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy

Milton Katselas. Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want! Life need not be something we are in awe of, overwhelmed and frightened by. Nor do we need to be continually critical in our approach to life. Awe, fear and criticism of our own lives, or others', lead us to a lower self-esteem, a disastrous response...

Stan Taubman. Ending the Struggle Against YourselfA Workbook for Developing Deep Confidence and Self-Acceptance

Valerie Young. The Impostor Syndrome  How to Feel As Bright and Capable As Everyone Seems to Think You Are
Dr. Valerie Young's often humorous and always on target insight into why so many bright, capable women seem to doubt their competence. 
Learn what the Impostor Syndrome is -- and isn't. This live presentation includes strategies to help you to start seeing yourself as the intelligent and competent person you really are. handbook / ebook / CD program from Changing Course

> More titles:   change / growth : books---impostor syndrome 2 : quotes articles books....

perfectionism 3 : quotes articles books......self-esteem / self concept : sites articles books

self-coaching.quotes articles books.....self-limiting resources : articles books.....

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