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Guard Against “It Doesn’t Matter”

Guard Against “It Doesn’t Matter”


    I have been reading quite a few books and blogs about writing non-fiction articles recently, putting the styling techniques and grammar tips into practice. I have also been reading more novels to expand my imagination and hopefully, vocabulary, so I might aptly describe what I would like to. I was on a quest to become a more prolific writer.

    So as I drafted a few articles for newspapers, I applied the lessons I learnt and set about editing and re-writing my drafts. I was quite pleased with my efforts and satisfied I had done my best. I decided to leave one of the articles overnight and come back to it one last time the next day with a fresh eye before submitting it to the editor.

    The next morning, I turned on my computer again and expected to run quickly through the article, smile at myself, and attach it to the email to send off.

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    However, I was caught by deflated surprise. Suddenly, I found a number of flaws in the logic and argument. There were typos everywhere, and the writing sounded dull. The article didn’t sound too interesting anymore. I was almost on the verge of tears and was tempted to write to my editor and tell her my dog ate the draft.

    I said to myself, “It’s just an article and it doesn’t matter if I didn’t get printed this time.”

    Julia Cameron warns against this mentality in her book, The Artist’s Way, a book to guide others to discover their creativity.

    Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this surge of sudden disinterest (“It doesn’t matter”) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.

    Indeed, it was my way of avoiding the disappointment I felt about my work. I also did not want to spend extra time and effort to further polishing the article. I didn’t want to deal with the perceived obstacle, nor admit that my confidence in the draft is shattered. Suddenly it seemed that the whole world could write better than me.

    I found as many excuses as I could:

    • There were more proficient writers
    • My topic was boring
    • Others could write the same topic so it didn’t matter if I submitted my draft or not
    • No one would read what I wrote
    • I won’t die if I didn’t write
    • There was no point in trying to become a writer

    Self-doubt blinded my passion for writing. The effort required to reach the goal I set for myself seemed too much for my psyche to bear.

    I consoled myself that even if I didn’t reach the goal, it doesn’t matter.

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    And with that, my enthusiasm and energy slowly dwindled away. I was establishing a defensive wall around my self-doubt.

    This is why many of us never write that book, or that guest post, or paint that picture or design that graphic.


    We think: it doesn’t matter. But it does – even if only for ourselves

    I finally picked up my weary soul and went about editing the article. It took me another 2 hours, but after I sent it off to the Editor, I felt good about myself, that I had conquered the self-doubt in me.

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    Next time you find yourself saying “it doesn’t matter” – stop yourself, and focus doubly hard on that exact task you think doesn’t matter. For it does, and each little step you spur yourself on will create all that difference in life.

    That article I submitted led to a subsequent invitation to write again, and again…and now I write regularly for that paper.

    It does matter.

    (Photo credit: Tower on Beach via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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