Make Your Critical Inner Voice Part of Your Creative Practice

Whenever you pour your heart into a creative endeavor, those critical thoughts can derail you.

“You can’t do this.”

“This isn’t good enough.”

“Who do you think you are to even try?”

(And yeah—I’m holding back here. The voices in my head are much harsher.)

You can try to fight these voices. That’s been my go-to-strategy for much of my life. “STFU, I’m gonna do it anyway.”

That works. Sometimes. But over time, it also gets very, very tiring.

Now, I’m trying a different approach.

I listen to these voices. I appreciate them for speaking up, because I know: They have a reason for saying these things. There’s an underlying positive intent. I might not always understand that intent, nor agree with it. But I do believe that these critical parts of myself have my best interest at heart.

This is changing me, and changing the way I work.

I noticed this again on the second day of my 30 day creative writing challenge.


[00:00:00] today I did my second day of. 30 minutes writing. Yeah, it was clear really less enjoyable than my first day he was writing. This was more of the real experience. Um, it was not difficult to keep going, but I had a few moments where I could just sense a part of me wanting to let’s open slack or get distracted and run away from it.
And then there was one distinct moment just for a split second, where there was an inner, almost like a little mini panic, just a, I don’t want to do this anymore kind of a feeling, but it was still very small. It was still in its infancy, just for a blip for a brief moment. I could feel it in.
I thought isn’t this interesting,
one of the interesting things about writing for me now, as I’m making my first baby steps of attempting to play with it, I mean, I’ve written, did some [00:01:00] writing in my past , both on the cool school blog. And later when we started close, I wrote a few small pieces. Yeah. And I did some ebook stuff, back in the day.
And I did some blogs, some blogging, some write a little bit of writing, right. In all kinds of fashions and forms. The first email course, I remember fondly. and I could tell that. I could get good at this. I have a knack for it. I at least think so, but I’ve never developed it. And now when I, the type of writing, never even attempting, it’s not even writing about the startup sales business, entrepreneurship, where, where it’s more, fictional writing This is so far away from my comfort zone. I’m so far away from something I would recognize it is good, That it feels insurmountable. In in like, I actually had like this [00:02:00] image of you in your first, I don’t know what it was more timelessness, something where a 12 year old kicks you and defeats you in the first training session.
Yeah. it is a harsh, kick in the nuts. You’re not being your ego, which is where, an ego could be placed appropriately in the human body. We made a lot of sense. It wouldn’t make a ton of sense influenced We should do the anatomy of inner work. So again, we should, we do that. The anatomy of inner work.
Yeah. We should place, Hey, this is not a bad idea out of all ideas we’ve ever had. This is not a bad one. So , learning to do something badly while enjoying it as a superpower. Right. If you can do things poorly, but you still having fun, that’s amazing.
That’s an amazing thing to master and to learn. something that very rarely do we teach this to anybody, especially not our children. we are trying to tell everybody to just have fun participating, but really the fun isn’t getting good at things, Not in being bad at [00:03:00] them
where do we socially accept one person doing it clearly worse than all others around them and them being really happy independently from it. and for me, part of what made me maybe progress on definitely see the w one of the benefits of being unreasonable in your expectations is that it might drive you to get better, much faster.
Right. So I am sure right now, when it comes to martial arts, I am not progressing at all. Right. I train a lot less when I trade I’m much more relaxed. And so I would say that the last year I haven’t really progressed at all. I had years where it progressed significantly, but I took it much more seriously.
Now I’m having a better time now with it, because when I go to train, it’s mostly fun. And before when I trained it was some fun, but mostly that was self-imposed pressure [00:04:00] to perform to get better. I was very ambitious about it at the same time. I always recognize and realize that I would never get good, really, truly good at it in the general, like compared to people that are good, that are really good.
And that’s, that was a new feeling. Like I can work at this very, very hard and never get truly right at it. I’d never endeavored to do such a thing in my life. Why would I, like, I always, from a young age would only want to put all my effort into something where I could truly be amazing it. Yeah. This is also a thing about getting older, because the amount of things that are like this are just growing, right?
Yeah. Because you’re not fucking at 18 years old where you have 20 years to get good at it and still be, not even 40, like 20 years. And you have like 10 hours to do it a day versus the Yeah. Possibilities. You have life here, work, you have children, you have [00:05:00] shit to do.
You don’t have all day to dedicate to something. So in my martial arts journey, I had to go through discovery, martial arts, falling in love with it, discovering this new dimension in my life with like something more physical. But then also trying to come to terms with the idea that I will never get great at it, but then truly not being at peace with it.
Right. And just still judging myself and. Approaching certain things as if the expectation should be that I will, I have to get as good as people that do this professionally. Now with the writing yesterday, I had some fun, but today, when it was a bit more of a struggle session, I had a moment where whole, I looked at the page and hopelessness looked back at me, you know, and the hopelessness was, you will not get great at this.
You know, there’s just not this, this, the distance between me and greatness on a piece of paper [00:06:00] seems insurmountable in this lifetime and this sort of a voice that said maybe if you had started, you know, when you were 20. Hmm. But now this is fool’s gold. You’re chasing. This is you’re not going to get you anywhere.
And. I think we have the same asshole. Oh, I think we’re very similar with our inner critic to some degrees. Yeah. Now you have found effective methods of not listening to it than I have in some areas. I don’t know. It’s putting chocolate in your ears. I dunno what you did right. To manage it at certain times.
I think who knows how we both manage this, but I do think that our inner critic is they’re definitely cousins, right. There are definitely, there’s definitely similarity there for sure. Yeah. They might even be talking to each other really well to stop this motherfucker from trying this all. I’m going to try that too.
And by the way, tell your want to stop seeing trees. [00:07:00] What the fuck it could be. It could be that. There in lies. My challenge when it comes to the love of writing for right now, at least is shaking off this leech. That is true. Trying to hold on to this approach that I need to get brilliant at writing, which I would love to be right.
This is the part that leach of me that says, well, wouldn’t you love to be like, I love to, well then come over here on our site, you know, join us in our views. I’m like, yes, but I really want to enjoy my time with writing. And it’s like, you know, enjoy small. Like this is what do you care? Like, let’s just get great.
No, I really just want to have fun doing it. And it’s like, that part of me is like, what is the point of having fun? If it doesn’t lead to greatness and And then, I today I was reading I’m now firmly in the flow of rereading [00:08:00] the first dune book. Again, I’m going to finish it quickly.
Right? I’m like in it to win, it also had to do a quick break on our courier Ana current leader, because the person I’m reading it with it has to catch up, you know, and I’m, I’m just, I, I can wait around. That book I got into a flow like that book is another book that I could quickly finish. Right. But because I paused that and we had talked about dune and rereading it, and I’m in the same apartment where I really fell in love with it in Austin.
And so I was thinking, wouldn’t it be cool to reread it here? You know, where first read it and kind of like, this is a vibe that I can reconnect to. So I started remaking it and it took two or three attempts. I, at first I read a couple of pages and then I was like, eh, but now I’m, I’m flowing. Right. I’m going to finish this [00:09:00] fast.
And now I’m also at the point where just the beauty of writing is presenting itself more clearly to me. And there’s so many moments where I’m just in awe with the writing. The capacity to write this good, which then makes my all writing even worse. Right. It just makes it so much more terrible. Like I gave myself permission to write this little story that I was writing in kind of a, the simplest form possible and not question too much.
And I did, and it was, it’s fine and fun, but it is in one word, humbling to be pedestrian at something you love so much. I mean, it’s just like being truly pedestrian at it. And then that’s, I think why it’s so difficult for people to keep learning at the same pace as children. [00:10:00] Now, one big part is just time, right?
It is not to be underestimated. We just don’t have the time. That children do. But the other part is obviously our inner parts and voices and egos and whatever you want to call it that stop us from doing and exploring things freely and wildly with recklessly, right? Learning recklessly, without wondering if what you’re learning is good.
If you’re learning fast, if you’re going to get, if it leads to something with other people would think of it, just following your blessing, your curiosity, recklessly, wherever it may lead. And if you fall off some cliffs, so be it he’ll survive and you’ll go somewhere else and roll them around. And we just don’t have that anymore.
And the older you get, the more your personality in your life becomes poured in cement, right? Is like. [00:11:00] It needs cracking to move. It’s just not flexible anymore. It’s not fluid anymore. It’s hardened. Right? It’s set in stone set in its ways. The more, the older we get, that’s one part of it. But the other one is also the more recognition we get for our strengths or our personality.
Maybe it would be diff maybe it’s the same, but on the flip side, for people that get no recognition for nothing, because they are lacking the confidence that they would ever be good at anything. Right. Maybe that’s that challenge. But I can also tell you from an, from my perspective that since there are things that I’ve developed over many, many years, and I’m really, really good at it makes it more challenging at times to be really bad at something for me.
Yeah, because I have this really nice suit. It’s really, really comfortable. My back is not against the wall. It’s not that I don’t have any clothes and I have to wear this new stuff. If, if, [00:12:00] if I’m a little insecure about it, I have options. Right. And I have things where everybody will look at me and go, you look amazing.
So wearing something that is new and I feel awkward in it, doesn’t fit is, seems even harder to me at times. And I, it reminds me of the first few months when I moved to the U S the hardest thing for me was how stupid. I sounded all day long to my own ears. I had always been a great taco. It was always a great communicator.
And in German back then, I was very persuasive and I was, I sounded good to my own ears, at least. Right. And then I come to San Francisco and everything I’m trying to communicate. Is labored and awkward and choppy. And I just sound a little goofy and a little dub, like, like a simple person, like somebody that’s [00:13:00] just not, not really smart.
And that hurt. Like I remember I was trying to convince investors to raise money from what, tell people to join my company. I’d constantly to explain people who I am and what I’m doing. And every day I was in emotional pain because I was thinking, well, I sound like a fucking idiot, right? No wonder none of these people want to do things with me or not one day I’m struggling so much this, you know, and it just was bruising.
My ego. I sound dumb. I come across a simple and dumb. I don’t come across impressively. I’m not charming. I’m not charismatic. That thing that was. My gift, the power that I developed in Germany, boom. All of a sudden that superpower, you know, I touch kryptonite and now I was just a normal bloke with some, with glasses on and I couldn’t fly.
I couldn’t laser eyes through buildings. I didn’t have super, no pause anymore. Just [00:14:00] sucked.

And it’s similar here where, and we’ve talked about this how difficult it is to do the inner work podcasts because of some of those ego challenges
this podcast to a degree is that sometimes when I listen to our conversations at times, I think it’s magical and it’s art and it’s in the moment, something that was meaningful to me, to us.
And the times I feel like Jesus Christ, you just like blabbering on forever and you’re not getting anywhere. And I would hate listening to this shit. And you know, this is not amazing content. And that hurts my quantum heart because I had. I have created and we have created content that I thought was pretty fucking bad ass in the past.
But with writing even more. So, I mean, this podcast, isn’t a million times better than my writing. This is, uh, now you get an idea of what my writing is like, but I’m learning to [00:15:00] do this. And I remember while doing it, why I want to do it. Hmm. Not get lost in my ego, in my ambition, in comparisons to what I’m reading to masters of this craft, because it’s irrelevant, but do it for the pure joy and exploration, do it to learn again, something new, right.
Independently of how good I’ll get independent of the. The final destination here. Just find ways to enjoy the journey and be playful with it and are prideful. Is that it, that is the lesson. And that is a big part of the scenery of this path, right? The things that are there to be observed and treasured, and that make this a [00:16:00] beautiful journey to go on and to endeavor on.
And that’s tricky. It’s easy to say, but it’s tricky to do when, as you write, I think writing is so beautiful. For me now, like today was nice because as I was writing yesterday, I was inspired. So the writing happened through my fingers. That’s always nice. If you’re inspired and things just happen.
I’m not saying that the writing was great, but it felt good writing. Yeah. Today, the writing wasn’t inspired and so everything was flowing more awkwardly. It had to be pushed. It didn’t just, you know, it, wasn’t not an opening to it. It was a laboring for it. And then as the laboring happened, maybe before, or maybe part of it were these thoughts, these, this is a not going this well, you’ll never get good at this shit.
Right. Uh, you should have never stopped writing when [00:17:00] you were younger. It was much, much better. If you had just kept writing and whatever, it was like all these kinds of feelings and emotions, even just for split seconds and those unpleasant voices impulses, being able to stay steady and stay firm and not let them tip you over.
Not let them get you out of balance. One moment. You’re enjoying something. The next moment, all it took was this small little impulse in your offer rhythm. And now you’re self-conscious and you’re looking around the room and you think somebody is laughing at you, and now you totally lost the plot. When a second ago you were in the groove, in the music loss, dancing, enjoying yourself.
It’s that kind of like these little impulses that can have such tremendous ripple effects. And this is in life, not just when you endeavor to do something new it’s everyday life, we are. Waking up in the morning, we’re making coffee, we’re [00:18:00] writing some emails and then there’s something, something challenging, some little fear, some doubt, there’s a little impulse, a little emotion, a little voice, a word inside of us.
And it just ripple effects us completely into a different trajectory for the day. Sometimes a bad day with some bad decisions can lead you down a completely different path in life. But I, so it’s so important for us to be and listening to ourselves and inside too. What are these impulses? What are these voices?
Where does all this come from? Where does this all lead to? And when you do something new, like I am attempting now where I say for 30 days, I’m writing 30 minutes every day. They fiction
noticing those things impulses in those voices and making it part of the practice. Is a beautiful thing. That’s beautiful inner work. If you have the presence to allow it to be, and today was fine. Like it was not magical, but it was also [00:19:00] these voices and impulses didn’t win quote unquote, or didn’t push me in a direction.
I disliked, I just noticed them. I acknowledged them and that continued. And it was also not a glorious victory where I turned everything around and made beautiful art and thought the writing was amazing. And then I was super proud of myself. I didn’t get to that turnaround point, but yeah, it just kept going, and now I’ve written for an hour in total in two days a fictional story.
And this might be the most fictional writing that I’ve done since, uh, seventh grade. Hmm. That’s kind of cool. Yeah. And it’s something that I wanted to do for at least six months. Now I’ve been thinking about this for six months. I’ve not been able to do it, I guess. I wonder why no one know what voice or what part of parts of me were holding me back because it’s not difficult.
[00:20:00] It’s not difficult to have 30 minutes for something like this. It’s actually fairly easy, but it’s the emotions, the voices that are awakened within that might make this a really daunting task, right? The ego, the fears, the pressures, I don’t know. I enjoy the last two days and I, I am certain for the next 20 days.
I’ll have 28, very distinctly different experiences every single day. Right. It’s gotta be a different challenge with different, different texture, a different
it’s a completely different thing every single time for different reasons. And, I think that today I got a little excited about that. I think that’s going to be one of the coolest things about this whole thing is how wild this little journey can be if I’m just present for it.

Yeah. That, inner critic, that enemy within will always come up with a w try to come up with a new strategy. So yesterday I tried this, it didn’t work today. Let me try that.

If you take the inner parts philosophy to this one nice thing is that you don’t think of these parts as [00:21:00] enemies that need defeating. You’re just thinking of them as parts of you that are trying to protect you from something, What is that part trying to protect me from? Well, maybe it’s trying to protect me from embarrassment, doing something, being sensitive around it, you know, part of we always say, oh, you know, be let’s be like children, let’s be childlike.
Let’s have childlike curiosity. Let’s learn like children, children are awesome. Children. There’s children with that. But you know what children are as well sensitive. They’re very, very sensitive at times. And When you endeavor into a new area where you are more unsure of yourself, but you love it and you do something in it.
Maybe I’ll write something that I really love. Then I’ll have the dilemma of, do I show it to somebody? And if I do, what, if they don’t love it as much as I do, which most of the time they won’t. Can I deal with this? I mean, you know this really well, I’m still waiting to see some of your writing that’s normal.
But [00:22:00] if you think of that may be part of the entity. It’s different for everybody, but maybe that voice that tells me you’ll never get good at this. Maybe it’s just a part of me that is trying to protect me from embarrassment because it, things I cannot handle embarrassment.
And so this part maybe adopted this strategy of if I, convince him not to do things that could potentially be embarrassing, then we’ll be fine. We’ll safe. I really love that philosophy in ifs that even the quote, unquote, worst parts of ourselves, the parts that say things and make us do things that we really don’t enjoy.
If we stay curious and try to understand what drives them, maybe they have, underneath it all an actual noble intention, no matter how misguided the execution is of how are the strategies of how they’re trying to accomplish that. Maybe all they’re trying to do is really just protect us. Right?
If you think about it, me. Feeling a little shitty or [00:23:00] lost a hopeless, right? That was the word that I used having a moment of hopelessness that I could ever get good at this. Why would I have that feeling? Why would that even matter? Why would something inside of me feel hopeless? Well, maybe because there’s a part of me that wants to be hopeful because know that there’s definitely a part of me that wants to hope and hold onto the hope that I could get amazing at this.
This is the truth to the outside world. I would always pretend I never going to get good at writing. And even if I wrote something that I thought was good, I would always downplay it and say, it’s not really good. Right? What is that? That’s me trying to protect my ego and my myself from the world. But there is a part of me that does hope that wants to hope.
Maybe by the time I’m 80. I’m going to be one of the best writers the world has ever seen this apart of me, they just can’t help itself is hopelessly, romantic, and ambitious and wants to be amazing at [00:24:00] everything it’s just wants to. And there’s maybe this other part of me that wants to, to counteract that now let’s not get too much into writing.
Let’s not love it too much. Let’s not work, edit too much because what if that hope is really hopeless, right? What if that’s impossible to accomplish rationally? I would agree more with, it’s probably not going to happen, but emotionally I want to still dream. And so there’s this part of me. That’s trying to protect me from it on those dreams because most of these dreams would end up hurting me.
Right. Thank God. Like, imagine this, I might still have a slight hope or thought that I might. Have a couple of fights in my life, right? Not professional fights, but just some amateur fights just to experience what it means to go into a ring and fight. There’s still something inside of me that wants to do that.
But now imagine if I actually thought I could become a world champion MMA [00:25:00] fighter, that would be a dangerous dream to have for me because the chances are below zero. Okay. And the consequences are very high. You know, the consequences of me getting seriously hurt and injured or doing really making really bad decisions.
If I fully committed myself to become a, a champion will be high. So having that side that Christ tries to criticize you and hold you back from it. at times that it, that, that part. That part has probably saved a lot of people, especially a lot of men. If you consider that, what is it? 11% of all men think they could win against the line in a fight or something, something crazy like that.
Right? I mean, we’re built as man to some degree to be delusional about our abilities, right? As humans may be more, more generally speaking, but you add more [00:26:00] testosterone into a human and that, propensity to overestimate their own abilities and underestimate the danger goes up a lot. And so having that part can really can save lives, can really save people.
And I think about all the people that in their late in their life are doing these crazy entrepreneurial investments and think they could build a multi-billion dollar company when everything they’ve done before was super small and never worked. And. Of course, we all wanna, we all love the idea of the Ray crooks or whoever like the, the, the, the people that got rich very late in life.
And that had all failure after failure, but they never given up and in their sixties that turned everything around became successful. We love it. I love that. I worshiped that idea of human transformation, right? That it’s never too late, but for most people, this is always going to be bad advice. Like at 60, you should not invest everything you’ve ever earned to do some crazy new [00:27:00] entrepreneurial thing.
If you have zero experience in any of that. going back to my main point, these critical voices are these evil voices. So these inner enemies that want to stop us from doing art, from pursuing hobbies, from approaching this girl that we might fall in love with, or whatever other beautiful thing that we romanticize these voices might just desperate to protect us, from what they deem the most likely outcome, which is a bad outcome price. and when you think, when I think about those parts of me in this particular way, it feels better and it softens my inner wars and that’s helpful to me, I want less fight to get over that fear of writing and I want more gentleness and that fear dissolving into the joy and curiosity of wanting to write. And more of that happens more of the latter happens when I take a look at that feeling of that emotion, and I’m not angry at it and I’m not combative towards it, but [00:28:00] I go, oh, I get it.
You’re just trying to protect me. But let me tell you. I’m fine. I’m safe. I can do this. I can deal with us. This. I do not need protecting from
yeah, dude. Thanks. I was still, I think I am still, but just by default thinking about that in this way with like, that’s the enemy. , so I wanna, I want to fuck with it.
I want to try that
dude. I’ve, I’ve thought about all my inner weaknesses and insecurities always as enemies that I need it to crush from my life. And, and, you know, last year I had this realization that these insecurities and these fears and these inner critics and demons that we have, they’re not enemies that need to be destroyed.
There are little children that need to be raised and loved and paid attention to. And now this is yet another lens at looking. At all the parts that I’ve only known [00:29:00] as enemies as things I need to combat when I’m starting to write. And I have doubt and I have hopelessness, like, all I would have ever wanted is to destroy these feelings, to be like, no, you’re not fucking gonna win over me.
And then in those battles, how many times did I lose many, many times, many, many, many, many times once, sometimes as well, but I lost many plenty of time. And every loss always came also with edit shame. If I started writing and then I felt a little hopeless and I got angry at that and I tried to force myself and I didn’t.
The next thing I would want to do is distract myself with something. Right. I wasn’t just like, oh, well then work, let me do something else. Nice and productive. it didn’t lead to, a path like that. I really can only recommend, , to play with that inner relationship shift, because so far I’ve been, I’ve been [00:30:00] enjoying it.
it’s been generating very distinctly different result.

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