It’s Okay to Fail

January 23, 2011

by Leslie Zeigler

In light of the fact that today is the first day of the new year,  I wanted to blog about something that would be both inspiring and supportive to anyone who is yearning to be creative but afraid or for someone who is afraid to go to the next level in their creative process. I decided to be counterintuitive.  I listen so often to many people who report that what stops them from bringing their creative dream out of hiding, is somehow related to a fear of failing.  It may not be explicitly stated in that way, but that is what it relates to.

I was actually moved to write about the value of failing after listening to an interview Oprah had with J.K. Rowlings. In that interview, J. K. Rowlings, in a humble and earnest tone of voice, revealed  that it was when she hit rock bottom that she experienced the freedom  that really helped her to begin to write. And we know the rest of the story from there. Now it is not likely that any of us will  achieve the level of creative and commerical success that she did.  But that is not the point.

We live in a culture that dramatically emphasizes product over process. Being creative may never lead to external success or exposure.   But wouldn’t you feel freer to at least try to begin to write a poem, take a photo, ponder an idea for a short story, novel, non-fiction book, sign up for a singing, pottery, or dance class if you could accept that failure is an essential ingredient  of the gig?  And it really doesn’t have   to be so scary.  It does mean that you will have to learn how to strengthen your muscles of resilience and persistence.

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When Sloth May Be a Sign of Depression

April 4, 2010

In Deborah’s helpful and interesting most recent post about the necessity of sloth she talks about how a period of sloth can provide a much needed period of renewal.   As a psychotherapist I am interested in offering some clarity for anyone  reading this blog about when could sloth really be a warning sign of depression.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself  and if you answer yes to five or more of these questions it would be prudent to consider consulting a mental health professional. (Have you been feeling any of the following nearly every day for at least two weeks?)

Have you been sad, blue or down in the dumps?

Have you lost interest or pleasure in all or almost all  the things you usually do ? (work, hobbies, time with friends and family)

Have you noticed a loss in appetite or are you overeating?

Do you have a problem either falling asleep or nighttime  awakening? (or oversleeping) ?

Do you feel low energy?

Do you feel restless or agitated?

Do you feel a desire to isolate ( and this is not typical of you)?

Do you fail to experience pleasure when positive things happen?

Do you have feelings of inadequacy or are you overly self-critical?

Do you feel less able to manage the daily tasks of living?

Do you have poor concentration and difficulty making decisions? (and this is not usual for you)

Do you think or talk of death and suicide?

It is important to remember that unless you consult a mental health professional  and a medical doctor it would be difficult to know if these  are symptoms of depression or symptoms of a medical condition.  There are different types of depression and this information is merely a preliminary guideline to help you assess if  you need professional help.