I’m not at all sure what I want to write about this time, but I think it might be something to do with motivation and listening to the unconscious, so I’ll start with that in mind and see where we end.
Should any of you be regular readers, you’ll know that I’m writing a book about NLP and redundancy. To say that it’s been a massive learning experience would be a huge understatement. One of things that I’ve appreciated most is how useful the unconscious mind can be.
I’d been telling myself and others that I was writing a book for at least two months before I actually started. This in itself is interesting, given that I usually find it very easy to motivate myself and I absolutely love writing.
On waking one morning – even before I knew what was happening, I found myself in mid-conversation with my unconscious.
You know this book you’re writing?
Well, you’re only writing it an English sense, not a Spanish one.
What do you mean?
If you use the present continuous tense in English and say “I’m writing a book”, you don’t actually have to be doing it. If you say “estoy escribiendo un libro” in Spanish, you have to be doing that activity right here, right now. Which one of those are you doing?
The English one.
How about switching languages?
That got me started; at least I shipped up in the study and sat myself in front of the computer. The next little nudge that my unconscious gave me was to tell me that the important thing was to start writing; it didn’t matter whether it was the beginning, the middle or the end. It would all come together somehow; and it has.
In fact, that first session at the computer was the gateway into motivation because I wrote 4,000 words at one sitting. As the sheets curled out of the printer, I realized that for me to be motivated, I actually have to see the end product. I could see my book for the first time, and that made all the difference. Sometimes, I see things in my head by visualizing them rather than seeing them physically. Doesn’t matter one iota: the strategy still works for me.
It’s worked so well in this instance that I’m now up to 40,000 words. I think the end may well be in sight. As I’ve gone along, I’ve consciously paid more attention to my unconscious. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but I don’t think it is – not really.
In my map of the world, these messages from my unconscious go under the moniker of inklings. I’ve now discovered to my absolute delight that inkle exists as a verb. One on-line dictionary defines it as:
to communicate in an undertone or whisper, to give a hint of something, hence inkling.
I’d only previously heard it on the television programme Eggheads where Daphne Fowler uses it as a noun in the sense of a tiny inkling. Inspired, I’ve written an entire chapter entitled Learning to inkle.
I won’t spoil it for you – just in case you want to read the complete oeuvre, but here’s a brief summary. Even if we’re in the habit of ignoring our inklings, we all know how they manifest themselves – in either pictures, words or feelings. I think we also know how we dismiss them.
If you’re an habitual non-inkler, then you may have to pay close attention to yourself to catch your inklings as and when they occur. First step is to know what form they take, so you know exactly what it is you’re trying to catch. Be aware too that your conscious mind generally steps in immediately, only too eager to despatch your inklings into oblivion as rapidly as possible.
What I’m talking about here is using your sensory acuity on yourself. If your inklings are screaming at you to stay away from someone or something, there’ll be a very good reason for it. For instance, the only time I ever reversed a decision that my inklings had made for me about a person led to unease, unpleasantness, and heartache – not just for me, but for a number of my colleagues as well.
Although I acknowledge that the other person was doing the best she could, I also know, with the benefit of hindsight, that my inklings went into overdrive when we first met because our values and ways of being in the world were so fundamentally different that a happy ending was never on the cards. This was one of those lessons that will be with me for the remainder of my days. Now I honour my inklings with the respect they deserve.