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Troublesome Thoughts?

4 Ways Creatives Can Control Their 

Active Imagination

Creativity is a Curse as much as it's a Blessing.

Creativity enables us to become prolific writers, magnificent musicians, incredible photographers, painters, poets, and so on.

However, the mind of a Creative is often plagued with over-thinking resulting in Self-Doubt, Fears and Stress. This is my experience at least, having worked with some truly brilliant Creatives.

The same brilliant imagination that dreams up their creative masterpieces is the same imagination that plague and paralyzes.

But here is what I believe... The world needs more people sharing their creative gifts.

Which means overcoming the negative aspects of living with an active imagination.

Taming the Tiger.

So, here are 4 ways, as a Creative, you can control your active imagination so you can start sharing your gifts with the World.


1. Meet your Gremlin

This is one of my favourite tools to share with a client.

When I work with an over-thinker, someone with an active imagination, I'll explain to them the nature of thought.

I'll share how 90% of the thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday.

I'll share how the majority of the thoughts we experience are negative.

I'll explain how we are not the one who is choosing to think the thought, but rather the one experiencing the thought.

This last truth is especially important because people often question ''What is wrong with me for thinking so negatively''?

Which only causes us to feel even worse, right?

It's bad enough being plagued with random, negative thoughts causing us to feel bad, without beating ourselves up by believing we are the problem!

We're not. These random negative thoughts are... well... random.

They are not us.

We're simply the experiencer.

So, time for you to meet your Gremlin.

To create some space between the Real You and the random, negative thoughts you experience, imagine there is a small Gremlin living somewhere inside of you.

It's this Gremlin who is actually speaking when you hear thoughts like:

What if I fail on this project?

What if I'm not good enough?

I'll do it tomorrow instead!

Those people are laughing at you!

Start to bring your Gremlin to life by giving it a name (mine is called Colin).

Imagine what it looks like, sounds like, and get clear on its nature.

What sort of things does it say to you on a daily basis?

It may be fun to sketch out on a piece of paper your Gremlin (or any other way of portraying it).

The benefit of completing this exercise is from now you'll be able to distinguish between when your Gremlin has popped up and is occupying your headspace and when you're consciously thinking.

I've had clients tell me having used this tool: ''I was feeling really fearful and then I realised it was just (their Gremlin's name) popping up and then I felt better''.

Understand you're Gremlin wants the best for you, you're security is most important to them, but they're a bit like an over-protective mother who, despite meaning well, actually interferes too much in their child's life.

It's down to you to decide whether or not what your Gremlin has to say is worth listening to.

Bear in mind, the majority of the time, the doubts and fears it projects simply won't happen.

2. Use the negatives of having an active imagination as creative Inspiration

I once worked with a singer-song writer from London. Super talented, mega creative.

I was Coaching her last year and the conversation was around her Fears.

As I listened to her talk about her deepest fears in life, a question came up for me ''could you write about this in your songs''?

She looked up, considering this idea and smiled before saying ''oh my gosh, I totally could''.

A long story short, my client went on to write songs around the Fears.

So rather than her Fears using her, she was using her Fears.

And of course, her fans could totally relate to her words because hey, we all have fears!

How could channel your Doubts or Fears into something creative?

3. Challenge the Doubts

If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. - Vincent Van Gogh

Life is friggin short, my friend.

Challenge your doubts! If you don't try, then you'll never know!

Remember this: Doubt reveal Desire. 

Doubt is a sign you really want the thing you are doubting!

For a long time I doubted my ability to write so... I didn't.

Despite having a deep desire to start writing and sharing my words with the world.

What are you doubting and what is the desire the doubt is highlighting?

If you don't challenge the doubt, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Meaning you'll be confirming the doubt must be true, but only because you made it so!

There was a day around 2 years ago I decided I'll give writing a go and I soon discovered, to my surprise, I wasn't at all a bad writer.

But without having challenged the doubt, I'd never have known.

So take action towards your desires. Challenge the doubt.

4. Respond with Compassion

This is a biggie.

What is most important when it comes to living with an active imagination, over-thinking, doubts and Fears is not WHAT we experience, it's HOW we respond.

Because it's only ever our responses that cause the suffering.

With some practice, it's totally possible to experience a Fearful or doubtful thought, and it does not affect us negatively. In this sense, there really are no ''negative thoughts'', only negative responses!

The #1 way to respond is Compassion.

Compassion looks like accepting whatever Fear, Doubt, Thought, pops up and responding in a way that serves you best.

Maybe it's by reassuring yourself.

Maybe it's about sending gratitude towards your Gremlin for giving you the heads up (remember it only ever has your best interests at heart).

By changing the way you respond to the thoughts, you'll change the way you experience them.

So ultimately, you can get on with channelling the incredibly powerful imagination of yours into your projects so you can share your gifts with the world and make a difference!

Thank you for reading,

With Love,



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Will Aylward