Ideacide: The Perils of Self-Censoring (And How You Can Stop It)

How one mistake can have a ripple effect on our creative courage for the rest of our lives.

It’s one thing to reject the ideas of others…we do that almost automatically. But when we reject, deny, stifle, squelch, strike, silence and otherwise put ideas of our own to death, sometimes even before they’re born, it is the highest crime against creativity. It’s an act of pure tragic mindlessness. I often think of this self-censoring as “ideacide,” because it entails the voluntary shutdown of the imagination, the long-effects of which eventually kill off our natural curiosity and creativity.

Most times, ideacide happens without us even realizing it. A possible off-the-wall idea or solution appears like a blip and disappears without us even realizing. As a result, some of our best stuff is suppressed before even getting out into the world.

Whether it’s because we’re too critical or because we recoil at the impending pain of change, the disruption of normalcy, self-censoring arises out of fear. Welsh novelist Sarah Waters sums it up eloquently: “Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce…”

We know self-censoring by many names. Carl Jung called it our “inner critic.” Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers called it the “voice of judgment” in their classic book,Creativity in Business, based on a popular course they co-taught at Stanford University Graduate Business School. Novelist and screenwriter Steven Pressfield called it “Resistance,” writing that it is “the most toxic force on the planet” and that it is “a monster.”

How One Mistake Can Self-Censor Us For a Lifetime

One touch of a red-hot stove is usually all we need to avoid that kind of discomfort in the future. The same is true as we experience the emotional sensation of stress from our first instances of social rejection or ridicule. We quickly learn to fear and thus automatically avoid potentially stressful situations of all kinds, including the most common of all: making mistakes...more 

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This New Gym Is Designed Like A Video Game

Asphalt Green, a New York City-based non-profit sports and recreation center, have created the ultimate gym for people that like to have fun while they workout.

The Upper East Side gym, named AG6, has gamified their workout, with a series of activities where you interact with lights that guide you through each section.

The gym has been designed with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) in mind, however, they make it accessible for all users....more 

Column: Why click-bait will be the death of journalism

Journalism is (once again) in crisis. This time, the sky really does seem to be falling.

Newspapers are losing readers and revenue. Some are shutting down all over North America. In Canada, it has been particularly acute, with the largest chain consolidating newsrooms in two-newspaper markets in January. Long-established small town newspapers in Ontario and British Columbia have simply vanished overnight after more than a century of service. Broadcasters continue to shrink, even as local U.S. TV stations in caucus and primary states make their usual profits in an ad-rich election year. Canadian TV stations are threatening to shut their local news operations unless a better model is found.

Media managers are wondering what went wrong. Reporters and editors are asking why journalism doesn’t pay any more. However, if simple solutions are hard to discern, the media have only to look at the technology they once so eagerly embraced.

It’s the digital technology. It emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s and swept through every aspect of modern life, including journalism. As ratings and circulation declined, media organizations, pressured by shareholders and desperate to find a way to return to the great profit margins of the 1980s, seized on digital as the silver bullet of transformations.

But if ever there was a double-edged sword, it is the digital culture. It has enlarged our informational possibilities while at the same time offering up trivia like cat videos, celebrity sightings and “listicles.” It is, in effect, driving journalistic deviance downward, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Yet media organizations stubbornly insist that digital is the solution. They cling to digital like a torpedoed sailor clings to a raft, hoping that the submarine won’t hit them again....more 

On Turning 30: Pool Parties, Body Shame, and a Little Bit of Wisdom

I’m having a coming out party on my 30th birthday. “Oh honey…” you say? “We’ve known for years. You’re married to a stud, for God’s sake!” I MEANT FOR MY ABS…A COMING OUT PARTY FOR MY ABS!

A few months ago, the aforementioned stud asked what I wanted for my 30th birthday. “Abs,” I said. This kind of joke was not unusual. Since moving to L.A. 12 years ago, I’ve been in a constant battle with my body. Sure, I could slim down for a while here and there, sometimes even getting in pretty good shape, but a flat tummy and six-pack have always eluded me. Without them it seems no matter what shape I’m in, when I look in the mirror I still see the chubby 13-year-old who sucked at sports and didn’t have many friends.

17 years later, there’s just a half-inch of fat left on my stomach. That is all that separates me from where I am and where I want to be. How trivial it may seem, and how shallow must I be, to be so constantly obsessed with my weight? Still, living in Hollywood, the capital of the image-obsessed, that half-inch of fat feels like a locked door, a barrier, that stands between me and not just a sexy body, but a body that is merely acceptable — whether in my personal life or even my career. Again…I must sound terribly hyperbolic, but the truth is I’ve had nights where I tried on 5 or 6 shirts before going out, only to end up so ashamed of my appearance that I’d cancel plans and stay home. I once fasted for 37 days (37 GOD DAMNED DAYS) because I wanted to be thin for a photoshoot.

I just lied actually; it wasn’t for a photoshoot, it was for a boy. I consumed nothing but juice for 37 days because I wanted to look thin for a boy who liked his guys to be…thin. At the end, my notoriously big butt had disappeared but my belly stayed intact. All of that is horrible but absolutely nothing compares to my biggest nightmare…

There is one thing in this world that terrifies me more than scorpions, more than waking up during a root canal, makes me feel more insignificant than any cheating lover ever could: gay pool parties. You laugh, but I’m certain many of you know what I’m talking about. A bastion of male beauty de rigeur where 98% of attendees look like they were sculpted by Michelangelo himself, nobody eats the food, and clothing is a mere inconvenience meant to cover as little as possible so that you might show off the countless hours spent at the gym and the millions of carbs painstakingly plucked out of otherwise “healthy” meals. I’ve dragged myself to plenty of these throughout the years, usually to support my very fit husband. He fits right in, so why should he have to miss out on all the fun just because I’m wallowing in all this shame? So I walk in hand-in-hand with my husband, David, apologetically and awkwardly, knowing people will instantly notice the vast difference in our bodies, one looking like it should be on the cover of Men’s Health, the other looking like it should be on the cover of Southern Cooking next to a steaming dish of tater tot casserole. At least, that is the story I tell myself in this situation: I am repulsive....more 

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