Monday, June 25, 2007

How to Reduce Fear: A Strategy

The idea is to take small steps in each beginning of the work on the project. And there's neurological reasoning behind this.

The approach is called the Kaizen Way, developed by Dr. Robert Maurer. Japanese business people used that word to describe the way they went about rebuilding their businesses after the devastation of World War II.

I found a description of this technique in Unlock Your Creative Genius by Bernard Golden:

"Maurer suggests that the human brain, motivated to maintain stability and security, is wired to resist change....The fear center of the brain, the amygdala, can lead us to react to situations without first checking in with the cortex, the more objective administrative part. Thus, new challenges can arouse fear in the amygdala, the center of the brain that is involved in the "fight or flight" response. However, small steps toward change or creativity do not trigger such a response. In effect, taking small steps toward change allows you to sidestep the fight-or-flight response...."

3 comments:

Peggy said...

An added thought: the folks at Creative Capital teach in their wonderful seminars: No Goal Too Large, No Step Too Small.

I never knew before that there was a physiological basis for this.

richard krawiec said...

This is interesting stuff, although I'm not 100% clear on how it translates to writing. Do you mean people try to write the same book, rather than go in a new direction, out of fear? I am playing around with the idea of a young adult novel told from an adolescent girl's POV, and I think I've been afraid to get started because it is so different from everything I've written. Although that hasn't stopped me in the past. But there's something about this POV that scares me.

Peggy said...

What I meant was the kind of fear that makes some of us procrastinate about getting started on the day's writing, whatever the book is. Hesitating because you're doing something really different would sure fit into that.

What you have in mind sounds exciting. When you're pulled to do something that different, I think there's really something strong waiting.