I love to paint. I really, really love it. I’ve even delved into digital painting…weee, what fun, and no mess for the kids to get into!
But here’s the thing. I’m not THAT good at it. I’m alright. I’m ok. Here’s a few hedgehogs that I painted and stickerized. You may have to click the box that will take you to my instagram, the html code is not on my side this evening.
I have improved, but I have yet to create a piece of art that literally takes your breath away. And guess what?
I don’t care. Not this time at least.
In the past I’ve tried things, seen how far behind I am compared to other people, and just said, “That’s it, I’m done!” I somehow pin myself as the runner in a race who at the end, when most people have stopped watching, staggers across the finish line while a few generous souls offer, “Good effort,” courtesy claps.
I’ve learned something through painting. Something about life really. Skills happen over time. They are not just a single race. And skills happen after many, many, too many failures. The true test is to endure and even embrace failure as part of the process–to really applaud an effort even if the result is an absolute mess. It is to be content with the finish-line stumbles as part of a bigger picture.
I do still look at art-related hash-tags on instagram and gasp at the amazing talent that is out there. Some people possess a god-given gift. The back of my brain says “They are SOOOO much better than me!” I let myself go there for just a minute, then I switch to, “They are so talented, and that’s awesome!” Their awesomeness can be celebrated. Their awesomeness has not taken anything away from me–there is not a finite amount of talent in the world and they happened to snag the majority of it.
And the truth is, natural talent or none–great masterpieces take dedication and hard work.
If you love doing something, keep doing it. Even if there are many people better than you. None of them are you.
So here, Thomas Edison, the brilliant inventor who changed the way we live said it best with these:
Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward….