6 Ways to Be Stronger

Do you wish you were emotionally stronger so the slings and arrows of the writing life – of life itself – wouldn’t hurt so much?

I’ve thought about this a lot because when you’re in the public eye, you can get stomped on a fairly regular basis. It can take years to build the thick skin one needs to become impervious to the hurt.

I’ve been through a lot in life, and I’d like to pass along some of the things I’ve learned from experience and from others who offered advice. Sometimes I learned from bad advice by subsequently learning that the advice was bad.

1. Don't take advice from anyone who's more screwed up than you. Everyone likes to give advice, but always ask yourself if the person dishing out the advice is living life more effectively, with less hiccups, than you. If not, smile and nod and feel free to ignore what they say. Unless what they tell you is based upon their own bad experience of doing the opposite, then listen.

2. Do learn from others who have been where you want to go. Model their behavior. Find out how they did it and adapt their method to your efforts. Unless the way they achieved their success was dishonest and goes against your own beliefs and integrity. You can't model negative behavior without far-reaching consequences.

3. Do stop working so hard. Instead, learn how to work effectively. Unless you assess your efforts and realize you really aren't working hard – you're just giving lip service to the idea of working hard.

4. Do enjoy yourself and your life more. Unless you're already spending way too much time in the pursuit of pleasure. You have to have a good balance between hard, effective work and play.

5. Do change your attitude about work. Sometimes when we describe an activity as work, even though it's something we truly adore doing, the activity, in our mind, becomes linked to work which popular culture tells us should mean unpleasantness. The more you enjoy something; the less it should seem like work so celebrate that fact. If, instead, your work really is sheer drudgery then you need to find something else to do for a living.

6. Do remember that you want to achieve something with the investment of your time, energy, and brain power. At day’s end, ask yourself if your investment will reap rewards even though that may be far in the future. If the answer is yes, then salute yourself. If no, then resolve to do better tomorrow. No guilt. Just a resolution and commitment to make tomorrow count.

Takeaway Truth

Each day is a new chance to be the person you are – the person who is sometimes hidden by fear and insecurity and lack of confidence. Be strong. Be that person.


  1. Joan, you have some pithy stuff in here!

    I have a mantra now that helps me:

    I write with joy
    I write with purpose
    I have ambition
    All is good

    For some reason, repeating these phrases helps to center me.