Peter Block books and more?
December 20, 2008 9:20 AM   Subscribe

First world problems, analysis paralysis, and personal actualization: Book's similar to Peter Block's The Answer to How Is Yes? I haven't even read this book, actually. But, I probably will. Clarification inside.

This is really a two part question. The first question is, do any of Block's more recent books articulate the ideas presented in Answer with more maturity and clarity? (I know all of his books revolve around similar themes.) Second, are there books by other authors that touch on these themes in similar ways?

Here's what led me to this book in the first place: On a personal level, I focus way too much on "how" for the things that matter most to me.

Generally speaking, for most areas of my life, I am neither a procrastinator nor a perfectionist. Most things in life are pass-fail, and I generally "pass" and don't look back. I think I use GTD pretty effectively--it stays in the background, and I spend very little time on it each week.

But when it comes to those most stirring visions, values, and dreams, I'll read twenty books on a subject, learn all sorts of things, but still feel like I'm spinning my wheels. It seems like I need a big, grandiose plan to motivate myself into some semblance of action, but then I waste all my energy by reading twenty books because I'm thinking, I don't know how to make this a reality. Or, If I start moving on this, I'll lose my vision and it'll all slip away. Or, I can't fully articulate this yet. I need to learn more. Rather than enjoying the experience of drawing, for example, I have to pick out and read the best book on learning to draw that there is. So maybe I didn't really want to learn how to draw in the first place? And yet, clearly I feel like something's missing. (Drawing is just an example, even though I did go through that phase. If someone put a gun to my head, I'd go with writing, speaking, and teaching.)

I act intuitively on all sorts of things, but I still succumb to analysis paralysis, over analyzing, and over researching on wants and desires that I can't articulate or won't allow myself to articulate.

Is another book the answer? I would vote, no... :) But clearly, "just do it," isn't going to work, because it would have already. I've skimmed through a bunch of creativity books like Twyla Tharp's, Steven Pressfield's, and several more.

Part of the problem, I think, is a tension between personal actualization and service, and an unflinching awareness of a finite lifespan. I realize these are good problems to have. Anyway, help?
posted by zeek321 to Religion & Philosophy (1 answer total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wishcraft is good for "I don't know how to make this a reality"
The second thing is that you can start making steps that are in the right direction without having a full plan. Moving won't make your vision disappear - it will give it food for thought and data to improve it. But I suspect that is not the real problem.

It seems like the problem isn't creativity, it is psychological resistance. I found Barbara Sher's approach to this very useful. (I used "I Could Do Anything I Want If Only I Knew What is Was" but I think her book on Wishcraft would cover the same issue along with being more generally about how to make things happen in your life.

The simple version, is use the GTD concept of an action item (is reading a book actually an item that moves you forward?) Then Barbara suggests thinking of the very smallest action that you could think about doing without triggering your resistance. For example if you want to draw:
do each of these for as many days in a row until you feel ready to go to the next -

1. buy supplies
2. make random marks with your supplies to get a feel for what you can do them
3. turn some random marks into doodles
4. sit down and make a sketch
5. draw

If you start drawing but some days the resistance is too high, then substitute doodling on that day. If you really aren't going to do it - then make a firm declaration "I am not drawing today" and then don't draw.
posted by metahawk at 3:19 PM on December 20, 2008

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