“I suck at this…”
“No, you don’t, you just need more practice.”
“Am I ever going to be good at this?”
“Of course you will! It just takes time…”
“How much time??”
“Well, that depends, you have to be patient. They say about 10,000 hours.”
“That’s... a long time………..” SIGH.
Have you ever had a similar conversation with yourself or someone else? I used to - often. It was a typical conversation by an ameteur, and that was me then.
I have always dreamed of living a creative and artistic life. In order to do so, I knew I had to be stellar at expressing my ideas through drawing, however, for the longest time, I was stuck in a vicious cycle of starting and failing. Starting was freaking hard. It wasn't all cherries and roses just because I decided to take the first step. So many times, I got lazy or distracted or made up excuses. It was just too easy to tell myself that I will draw tomorrow - as if there is an unlimited amount of tomorrow. I used to look down at my old sketchbook - a book filled with unfinished attempts and traces of lines where I saw the beginning of some effort but turned into nothing, and thought to myself, how the heck am I ever going to make my dream a reality at this skill level... I wouldn't. That paralyzed me, so I watched TV instead. Eventually, it came to a point where I was thinking about drawing more than actually spending the time doing it. A long period of this surely made me feel worthless. I realized that everyday I closed my sketchbook without attempting a drawing is my choice to let my dream life fade a little.
Then my birthday came around. I am in my early 30's now. My own mortality stared at me. I HAVE to do more with my life and NOW is the only time. I regrouped with some sense of urgency. I decided that I am going to wake up 30mins early every day and add more practice time to my daily routine. I read books on how to fight creative resistance. Putting my ego aside, I asked others to help me and teach me. Slowly, I got into the groove of constantly creating. Every time I finished a drawing, it gave me a little bit more motivation because it felt good to finish something. It was like a drug, the more I did, the more I wanted to do it. In just 2 years, I improved and expanded my skills - as you can see in my comparison image above. I remember a quote I heard somewhere, "we always think we can accomplish more in a day, but less in a year." The reality is the exact opposite. It is quite amazing to see what we can achieve in a year by starting with a tiny bit everyday! I started to really appreciate the journey itself. The only thing I am focusing on now is the small victories - every day I finished a drawing is a small victory. The big things will eventually come - I know they will.
After many small victories, I consider this a relatively big one. After working on this for over a year, I am finally relaunching my website because I have a new vision of my future. A vision that came to me as I struggled through the beginning. Many influential people have written about this phenomenon. Starting and doing leads to more things that you would never ever have imagined otherwise. I think the best thing I did during the beginning was being realistic with myself to adjust my habits and expectations - a little bit at a time. I learned to not be so hard on myself, and moved forward in ways that I could, instead of in the ways that I thought I should/need to be. I can't wait to see what I will accomplish in another 2, 4, and 6 years!
Do you have anything that you want to start doing a tiny bit today? Leave a comment and tell me about it!