When the World Looked Bleak I Danced

It was the Autumn of 2020 and during the peak of the pandemic. I remember feeling solace in my solitude. Serenity in my sonic sanctuary. The Covid-19 cases were rising again and we all were just…


A Duck Hears Also

Consider the timeless tension between the inner critic and inner critique.

My inner critic distracts me with loud stories about my flaws and inadequacies. My inner critic tells me whatever I’m doing or planning to do is not good enough.

My inner critique helps me by simulating a round of objective feedback about how I could solve a problem or navigate a decision. My inner critique is inspirational and strengthens my courage and confidence to move forward.

Critic: rough, flaws, excuses, doubts, fears, problems.

Critique: kind, helpful, clarifying questions, curiousity, caring, refreshing, improvements.

And yet both are in the mix — especially when I’m doing anything that requires creative energy. Like playing music. What I’ve learned to do over the years is amplify my inner critique while turning the dial down on the inner critic’s volume.

The whispered words of the critic pass through me. In one ear and out the other. The words in the critique circulate through my brain, nourishing thoughts that spark new ideas.

Igor Stravinsky said, “To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.”

It can be hard to listen to the inner critique when we also hear the inner critic barking loudly. And yet we must try to do this every time. With enough practice we become less like ducks and more like the complex, growing people we aspire to be.

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