Have you ever told yourself that you weren’t good enough to try something new or difficult? Do you put off writing that book because you doubt that you do anything worth reading? And even if you managed to complete something major, have you felt like an imposter?
Often our biggest barriers are internal, and finding a path around them can be freeing. That’s why I love Danny Gregory’s newest book, Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done.
In this short, entertaining, and inspiring tome, Gregory suggests that our primitive or “monkey brains” are responsible for protecting us from taking risks. He attributes the thoughts of fear, insufficiency and doubt to an inner monkey, resident within each of us.
This inner monkey is responsible for inhibiting creativity and risk-taking, using techniques such as procrastination, self-doubt, and the imposter syndrome. (See my earlier post on writing and the imposter syndrome.)
Gregory unmasks the monkey’s many tricks, using colorful analogies as well as individual stories. Reading this book, you come to realize that self-doubt is normal, and overcoming it is a common part of the creative process. In fact, a little worry can be a good thing, if it doesn’t stop you from creating:
When you stop worrying, you become a pompous windbag with an over-inflated ego. Then your standards slip, and you slide down the slick slope to suckdom.”
The book offers strategies for quieting the monkey.
This is one of those inspiring books that you may pick up time and again, alongside works like Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and Seth Godin’s What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn). Add it to your bookshelf of virtual support for the days your courage wanes.