Average. Uninspired. Mediocre. Not gifted.
These all have something in common. They are labels.
Labels often get stuck on us by our own selves or from the outside. They are powerful, and it’s super important to be aware of how you are using them. All labels aren’t negative as these mentioned above.
Instead they could be such words as Outstanding, Inspired, Gifted, Unique.
Some interesting research was done recently.
A group of students was given a placement test. Then they were divided up into Class A and Class B. The placement of students was random, but they didn’t know that. They believed it was related to their performance on the test.
Six months later, the students were again given another placement exam. Class A did significantly better than Class B. In reality the two groups were equally smart and capable. What was it that made Class B do so much worse?
Labels are essentially stories you take on yourself. You repeat them over and over. They become your focus and your identity. It could be an internal voice that matches a label with what you see yourself doing or being. Or it could be something someone once said to you that got stuck.
Whatever the sort, you need to be aware of them.
As writers and creators, it’s very important to carefully choose which label you take on because they become hooks you put yourself on. They define, they create expectations, and they determine what is possible for you.
Labels both limit and expand.
As you see from the research, not all labels are in fact bad. Some are very positive and give you something to believe in. A possibility, a dream, an ability, a direction. It can be any or all of these.
The problem is when you choose a limiting label like those above is that they lock you in. They, hold you back, prevent you from fully expressing yourself, and take away the possibility to live to your potential.
They give you a reason not to even try, not to even take a step into the ring and put in your best effort. Don’t allow this to happen to you. What you are trying to make yourself into is too important.
People are going to give you labels that are limiting. You don’t have to take them. You can insist on identifying yourself by something new and challenging. Something that allows you to expand yourself and grow into what you want to become.
Decide for yourself
Shrug off that Class B-style label. You deserve better. And it’s up to you to choose how you are identified. You move to Class A at anytime you want.
I know people that like to call themselves underachievers, lazy, or they claim to be lacking an ability. A little example is someone that I am close to that claims to have a hard time moving their thoughts into words. They aren’t alone in that feeling, but it’s just a label they give themselves. I can’t write. I can’t do this. I don’t have that skill.
Shrug all that off. They are just labels. If you know you don’t have a skill you can admit it but don’t let it define you. Don’t let it be a label.
Imagine for a moment if you are in Class A. You have been placed there because you have done well and the teachers see your potential.
If you know you have skills, how will you use them?
If you know you are smart, how hard will you work on your writing? Or some other skill you would like to develop?
If you believe in your abilities, how much effort will you put into making sure your writing is published?
You see the beliefs, expectations, and what is possible for you are wrapped up in the label. If you take on the Class A label, or some other great label, you will do more and do it well, you will believe in yourself, and you will accomplish more. In short, your effort will be greater because there is no question that you can do it.
Identify your labels
Take a few moments to write down some of the labels you put on yourself and especially your writing.
Can you see areas of your life and work where they have affected what you do and how you do it? Do these labels ever affect your willingness to dust off and try again after you miss the target?
I know this well. I used to think I wasn’t creative.
I was looking at it all wrong, but so I did believe it. I didn’t even try things like writing or painting or drawing. I was sure I couldn’t do them. I allowed the label I put on myself to limit what I would even try. It was really kind of sad because I really enjoyed art and writing in school.
Eventually, I threw it off. I made it a practice to develop artistic skills, and I began to see myself as creative. I began to understand that creativity is a part of everything in your life, not just making art. It’s your self-expression.
It has been very freeing. By choosing to call myself creative, I make it possible to do so many things that I would have never dared to do.
So, join me in choosing right now.
What labels do you want to for yourself?
You are worthy to be in Class A. A spot is saved just for you. All you need to do is step forward and claim your space.
Labels are powerful. They steer our decisions, actions, and most importantly what we believe about ourselves.
You get to choose today to put yourself in Class A and then live accordingly. You can also choose any other label that will help you get to where you want to go. Remember, you must believe that you are deserving of the label. If you feel you don’t measure up, then put in the work until you own that label. And don’t make it too hard for yourself.
Be sure to use powerful labels for yourself and as a writer. They will open you up to becoming exactly the sort of writer you want to be.