How to Shut Up Your Inner Critic

"Quiet you!" - Me to the voice in my head.

Martin here!

The other night, I was digging through some boxes at my parent's house and found an old video camera with two tapes labeled "Martin's Movies #1 & #2".

Now, I've always known I was a little weird... or, at least that's what people keep telling me, but it wasn't until I sat down and watched these tapes that I realized just how weird'a kid I really was.


Yep...that's me crawling on the floor, pretending to be The Crocodile Hunter, while my little brother giggles uncontrollably from behind the camera...

Blast from the Past!

What I love about finding these tapes, beyond the nostalgia, is seeing how fully my friends and I embraced our "weird side".

Like the clip where my friend Matt and I lip-synced an entire Linkin Park album.

Or, the one where I painted my face green and had my friend Zax interviewed me as the lead singer of The Green Man Group, a former member of The Blue Man Group, who was kicked out of the band over creative differences. 

Yeah... it got weird. 

But, we didn't care! We were in 6th grade, it was summer, we were bored, and we wanted to create something new.

The time between idea and execution was fast too! 

We'd be laying there in sleeping bags, playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater, when an idea would pop into our heads. Immediately, we'd grab the camera, start filming, and let the chips fall where they may. 

"Fifteen years can give you such a crick in the neck!" - Genie? 

But, things changed as I grew up. Somewhere in that 15 year span, creativity became scary. I'd think of something silly and the little voice in my head would quickly identify it as a "bad" idea, and I'd go back to checking email, or something less ridiculous.

This little voice is called our "inner critic", and while it can, at times, save us from doing something we might regret, more often, it overreacts and draws on our self-doubt to undermine our confidence.

Our inner critic holds us back from pursuing the things in life that we want. 

Amy Pohler, from Parks & Recreation, wrote a book called Yes Please!, where she had to battle her inner critic every day of writing. I love her advice on how to get that little gremlin in your head to shut up, so I'll let her take it from here...

“How do we move forward when we are tired and afraid? What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling that WE ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT? … Well, the first thing we do is take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. … And then you just do it. You just dig in and write it. You use your body. You lean over the computer and stretch and pace. You write and then cook something and write some more. You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true. You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. That is what I know. Writing the book is about writing the book.”  - Amy Pohler

Weird on Purpose

Amy is dead-on with her breakdown of the inner critic.

The only way to truly build confidence in yourself and in your life is to take chances, sit down, and do the work. 

In my previous post about my fear of writing, I overcame my inner critic by writing and journaling everyday. Putting quantity over quality until I had enough material to pick-and-choose what I wanted to share. 

These old videos got me thinking. What other bucket-list items was I procrastinating because of my inner critic?

Turns out, it was making videos again.

INTRODUCING: The Raj & Martin Show!

For the past year, I've been shyly thinking that it would be a good idea for Idea Lemon to make videos. But, I never felt I was ready to start, because I didn't know how to use the software, wasn't sure what to make videos about, yada yada yada.

Then I realized, if little Martin could do it without fear in 6th grade, then there shouldn't be anything holding back this Martin from doing it today.

Just do it!

Amy and Nike are right. We just needed to do it. So, I surprised Raj with a calendar invite, titled "The Raj & Martin Show!" and blocked off 30 minutes for us to record our first episode.

In the past week, we've created three videos, with many more to come. Each one giving a 5-10 minute answer to a question from one of you, our loyal readers! 

Questions like, "Who inspires you?", or "What skills are needed to succeed in entrepreneurship, or marketing today?"

There was a bit of a learning curve with the first one, but the quality continues to improve, and like our podcast, a year from now, we will be able to look back and see how far we've come. Plus, we will also have a new skill to add to our arsenal of abilities. #winning

...and as you can see, by the title of episode 3 - I'm still finding ways to keep it weird ;)


What is your inner critic stopping you from doing in your life? (writing, making art, asking for that promotion?)

And what questions do you have for us, that we could answer in future episodes of The Raj & Martin Show!?

Let me know by replying to this email. I read every response.
"I can't believe you answer all your email personally. You deserve a high-five... Just know that you've officially become my virtual therapist." -J

Wow, how could I not read it all with awesome feedback like this?!

Less worrying. More doing! 
Keep It Awesome,