The Safety Brain


The Safety Brain

Also a regular brain.

One of my dreams on my list of 10 dreams right now is to be a working artist. I spent some time writing (cause that is how I organize myself) on what that means. I came to a solid working definition of how I would like if I was a working artist. It goes like this.

I, more days than not, create something that people will experience that will cause them to feel something.
— Me

Writing this blog meets my expectations of a working artist. Even if you hate what I write you will feel something! This dream will evolve beyond this current definition, but I left it open and achievable to get around my safety brain.

What is a safety brain you ask? Well it isn’t another brain - its your brain in safety mode. It does this alot because the brain is wired to keep us safe. Any changes to routine, chances of failure, risks to life and limb and your safety brain goes into overdrive trying to change your mind (itself? see its complicated) and get you NOT TO DO THAT.

When I wrote the working artist definition I felt that what was missing was the “what” i was going to create. That is where my safety brain can trip me up and put me in a vicious loop. There are so many things I can create, so many things I am interested in. Illustration and drawing for example - see my brain drawing above! By having so many interests it means I never have to choose. By definition there is no right, no safe choice I can make that will keep me away from failure and heartache. So my safety brain works double time on this because whatever I decide to do or try I am not immediately good. My brain then says to pick something else. Then something else. Then something else. And I am never a working artist. I don’t need to do that, I need to circumvent my safety brain and give myself a chance to do something.

My safety brain also likes to focus on production and by extension "my worth as a human" as it relates to what I produce. How could I ever give myself time to learn something when my worthiness is tied to output! Its the final product not the journey! No safety brain its not.

These are the hurdles I need to cross as I work towards the goal of being a working artist. Ultimately whatever I pick my safety brain will say, and I quote:

NO! Don’t do that you aren’t good at it, pick something else!”
”STOP! You aren’t producing enough - you are worthless.”
— Safety Brain

Ah the safety brain. Can’t live with it but sometimes you might die without it.

As Seth Godin says - Just Ship It,


Guru In Your Ear

This is a 2 minute read.

I listen to a small handful of podcasts regularly. They are about happiness, creativity and living your best life (TM). To keep my dreams of creating and art alive it is mission critical I listen to these.



As you remember from yesterday's post George is that voice in my head that tells me not to do stuff, that I am not good enough, its a stupid idea...

Everyone has a George and if you are like me George has taken up space in your head for many years.

To live your dreams you have to drop George's incessant talking. But nature abhors a vacuum so if you don't fill it with something else then he will come back.

This is where podcasts have come in for me. If I want to keep my dream alive, moving forward, etc. I have to listen daily listen to a guru to replace that talk in my head. This as essential to my life as exercise and eating healthy. The world bombards us with what is wrong in the world. Its overwhelming, I find it overwhelming and I find it ramps up George and turns down the drive on my dreams. Its not that I don't want my dreams - its I can't complete with the overwhelm.

This crystalized listening to the recent podcast of The Moment with Brian Koppelman. The guest was Seth Godin. At one point during the podcast they talk about how when Seth started out he listened to Zig Zigler - FOR HOURS. He filled in brain with talk and voices that helped him get where he wanted to be. (This starts at 49:10 on the podcast)

We can do this same thing - and with podcasts is free! Before you create a plan to live your dreams you need to put a guru in your ear. Should you like a guru in your ear these are my choices.

10% Happier

Originally a podcast about meditation it is now moving into that realm of wellness. Reading Dan Harriss's book and listening to this podcast got me into meditation. I do credit to helping my personal evolution of the past few years. Even if you don't like meditation its worth listening to for a diversity voices on how to quiet the George in your brain. And its a nice counterpoint to NPR if you listen to alot of that...

The Moment with Brian Koppelman

I watched Billions on Showtime. I listened to this to hear more from the creator of a show I liked. I have lost a bit of touch with Billions but I have stayed steadfast to this podcast. Brian interviews creatives looking for the magic, the routines, the solution to the mystery of what drives people to create and how do they do it. As someone who aspires to create more art (and find fear gets in my way) I listen to this every week.

Don't Keep Your Day Job

It took me a while to warm up to this one but as her audience grew she started to have guests I can more relate to. As the title indicates - this is a job about quitting that day job you don't like and pursuing something you do.

Just Ship It,