John-Paul Flintoff: How To Silence Your Inner Critic / 6

John-Paul Flintoff




How To Silence Your Inner Critic / 6

Click here for other lessons: One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine


Have you ever noticed how certain notes on a piano clash horribly?

One particular combination of notes, known as the “devil’s interval”, was banned in Renaissance church music.

You’ve heard it a million times, in movies, and known instinctively that something bad was happening.

My hope is that you develop a CONSCIOUS awareness of the same kind of discord, whenever your inner critic takes over. Watch this:


2 mins 31 secs


If you’re struggling with the musical analogy, and you’re more of a visual person, let me try putting it another way.

You’ve noticed, perhaps, that colours behave in strange ways, depending on how you combine them. In some combinations they look drab. In others, they’re vibrant.

They shimmer.

Here’s a picture of a woman in purple and green:



Looks beautiful, but the combination is such a knockout it feels a bit like getting poked in the eye. That effect depends on the combination, just like the combination of notes in an augmented 4th.

It’s an effect that is unavoidable, intrinsic to the workings of colour, or music.

In exactly the same way, critical voices are intrinsic to being human, and having a mind capable of exercising judgement.

You will never NOT have an inner critic, just as a piano can’t be invented that doesn’t contain within its workings some pretty sinister music.

But you can train your ear to catch certain noises…

Train your eye to notice certain visual combinations…

And in the same way, I would like you to become a connoisseur of your inner critical thoughts, so that you identify them FAST.

In the next lesson, we’re going to look at the relationship between self-criticism and the tendency to judge others.


When you’re ready, click here to start the next lesson:
https://www.flintoff.org/silence-your-inner-critic-7