Having Faith In Yourself And Your Work
As creatives, we sure can take some hard knocks. We put our work out there, hoping someone will like it enough to bring it to life. Then, we may find ourselves hoping again that there will be a distribution home once our project is made. Often, we, or I sure do, feel vulnerable when hitting send on anything you have written or uneasily sit as you watch something you created with an audience. You squirm, feeling like maybe you are not as good, smart, or creative as you thought. Over the years of creating content, the one thing I found that helps keep me buoyed is Faith, as in having Faith in yourself, believing in your work, in something bigger, and using this Faith in times of doubt to push you toward the finish line.
Faith Comes In All Forms
Faith comes in all forms and is not just connected to religion or spirituality. While for many, there is Faith in a guiding force more significant than themselves, there is also the unexplained Faith that things in life will somehow work out. Faith that your best friend will be there for you when you fall. A belief that you will get up in the morning to begin a new day. Trust that you will get on a plane in Los Angeles and safely land in New York. So, whether you believe in God or not, you have some kind of Faith, and in our business, you need a lot of Faith, as I see it.
It is Faith that keeps us moving forward. When we feel stalled out, we have Faith that “this too shall pass,” 2 Corinthians 4:17–18 (KJV), and we will get to the other side of things; things will become brighter one day. Spiritual Faith is my bedrock. When I do not pay enough attention to it, things go upside down. Those who have spent time studying Happiness know that having a spiritual dimension to your life is essential to one’s overall Happiness. Spirituality can be infused into anything by the meaning you give it. It does not have to be a specific religious doctrine. It can be as simple as communing with nature.
In my recent book, Take a Shot at Happiness: How to Write, Direct & Produce the Life You Want, I share what I have found through personal trials and tribulations and research, the eight virtues and qualities that have made all the difference in how I live and the contentment I feel more days than not. Here is an excerpt from the chapter on Faith. I like to use film moments as a point of departure. Perhaps the one I use here will provide you with a bit of inspiration as it did me.
His eyes anxiously dart around an imposing dark cavern with his hand on a heaving chest as if he is cradling his breath. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy faces a ravine so wide and deep that it takes everything to make that first seemingly impossible step to get to where the Holy Grail is hidden. When he finally gathers the courage to defiantly stretch his foot forward and down into what appears to be only air, a bridge appears to support him across the unimaginable. That is also what happens when we lean into our Faith. An invisible force guides and protects us. I think this is true even for the nonbelievers in the crowd who genuinely trust their path. Supportive opportunities and people will and do present themselves.
The Ultimate Karma Code Cracker
Although believers and nonbelievers can be fooled into thinking they are taking action, only to find themselves staying in the same place, in reality, they are just repeating the same behavior, not getting anywhere, not getting any better. Why? Because it is comfortable, it is what they know, maybe have ever known. It can be extremely uncomfortable to think of doing anything different. Yet, that is exactly what they, we, need to do: something different. You may have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So, stop the madness. Instead, lean into your Faith for support in making healthier, more loving, more self-compassionate choices, especially when it is scary. Faith can help you break old patterns that no longer serve you in exchange for ones that do, or give you the nerve when it fails you.
I see Faith as the ultimate karma code cracker. When I studied Primordial Sound Meditation, a form of Transcendental Meditation, at Deepak Chopra’s center, I learned that good or bad, karma is essentially making the same decision over and over, repeating actions with the same consequences. When does this change? When you become aware enough to create a new choice. If you look up this Sanskrit word, karma means action driven by intention, which leads to future outcomes. These intentions are formed by the memory of past actions stored over time deep within us, spiritually speaking, held at the level of the soul. However, something else is going on as well and is happening inside your head.
Neurons That Fire Together, Wire Together
In your brain, memory is neurons and synapses acting together, creating a pleasant or unpleasant memory, good or bad. Memories then get stored with others that are similar. There is a saying in neuroscience, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Neurons are your head’s messengers that travel along synaptic highways, transmitting information to different areas of the nervous system, and producing neural feedback that is negative, positive, or neutral. This messenger service allows you to preserve and create memories. When you repeat any action, you bring up its associated memories. Whether positive or negative, they will remain so until you consciously change them. You can use the brain’s neuroplasticity to create a positive experience in your mind. So, consider constructive thoughts or experiences to redirect the negative ones causing you to feel in a way you do not want. Hold a new Happier experience in your mind for twenty to thirty seconds, enabling it to imprint in your memory. Juxtaposing two experiences in your mind, one negative, the other positive, and deliberately focusing on the constructive one, the other will fall away from lack of attention and a positive neural pathway will be built. When you consistently take in good experiences, the brain’s neural networks eventually get reprogrammed, and positive neural pathways become your default mental state.
By becoming aware of what is not serving you well, you can shift your energy toward making choices that feel good, creating Happy memories, changing unproductive thoughts, and breaking habits that hinder you. You can let go of the fear of change to take a chance at something new, and what can give you the strength? Right, Faith. Even though your heart is pounding, sweat is on your brow, and the next step in front of you seems impossible, think about how you can be like Indy. Believe an invisible bridge will appear as you consciously take a leap of Faith.
Belief In Yourself
The leap of Faith I refer to is underscored by the belief in yourself and your work. Yet, how do you have this belief when you think you do not? That is where the work comes in: trying to train your mind to become aware of your thoughts and reframing unproductive thoughts into productive ones. It is not easy; even so, it is something that you commit to doing now and always if you truly want the benefits, and you will likely have times when all your training goes right out the door? However, you can always come back to notice your thoughts and do something loving, supportive, and worthwhile with them. I have found what I just described to be a game-changer in my life. A good starting point is mindfulness meditation. Wishing you well in your creative journey.
“It is only when the mind is open and receptive that learning and seeing and change can occur.”
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Medical School
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About the Author
Stage 32 executive consultant Maria Baltazzi is a Happiness Explorer. Her calling is to help you become happier, live more consciously, and champion you in getting your next project made. Maria's experience as an Emmy-winning TV producer, wellbeing teacher, world traveler, and luxury travel desi...