I saw a post on Facebook one day that posed this question, “if you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” I thought I was really clever when I typed the word “nothing.” Thinking, why would it be worth doing if there was not the threat of failure looming over you. It stuck with me for days; the more I thought about it, the more I felt maybe the opposite was true.
I really don’t consider failure when I attempt a project like I am working on now. Sometimes, maybe I should since I do tend to get over my head but I guess that is a blog for another day. I am a big believer that you can accomplish anything, within reason, and the right amount of effort. Consider this, if you focus on the failure then doesn’t that become what you are trying to accomplish? Let’s say you are carving a sculpture and all you can think about is how just one little slip and off goes an important part. Guess what? You will probably slip. Or you are dieting and all you think about is a yummy chocolate donut. Or if you approach Christianity by focusing on sin instead of love or grace. I think you get what I mean.
I grew up, for a time, expecting the worst. My philosophy then was based on the thought that I could never be disappointed with failure. Instead I would be surprised by success. How crazy is that? Why look at life that way? It’s all because of one simple and very powerful word, FEAR.
It has taken a lot of years and a complete restructuring of my thought processes but I have conquered most of my fears. I realized that with Christ in me how can I have fear? What kind of craziness is that? So the rest of them have to go.
With this I will Face Fears at Fifty in 2015. It is with this attitude I have started working toward being an independent, professional artist. But there is one other fear in particular that still smothers me at times. The Mack Daddy of all my fears. It is time to get rid of my big fear of the water. How? Swimming lessons! Paid for and set to begin next month so I can’t get cold feet and back out. I can only go into it focusing on the success and not the failure. I will be a swimmer in a month!
Enjoy this song. Oddly it has water in the lyrics.
Now that I have gotten the creative juices flowing again by restarting the taunting project, I had to ask myself, “why did I put it up 5 years ago”? Was I too busy? Well, I am always too busy. I don’t think that was it. Maybe it was too hard. No, I love the challenge of a difficult task. How about too easy then? Definitely not that one. Perhaps I just didn’t like it when I got to the half way point. Well, nope, not that either. I have it! GPS syndrome.
GPS Syndrome is the inability to stick to one direction by constantly change your direction until you are going in circles. I remember now. I could not decide how to finish the project. One day I was going to stain it and the next leave it natural. Then another day I wanted to sand it smooth only to change my mind the next time I worked on it. Now that I am revisiting it I have “recalculated” 3 times.
I am done with that. After buying traditional cherry stain I tested it and decide “yucko”. Natural it is…no, wait, there is another option. I could burn it and then poly it. My daughter loved the idea and I am now content to stop making left turns. It is time to move forward.
So how many unfinished things in my life are because of indecision or a lack of true directon? I always thought it was because of boredom that I abandoned things before completion. Not sure I can answer that question now but I can be aware. I can pay closer attention. Make a conscious effort to be decisive.
I did not bargain for this type of revelation when I started this blog. But, hey, this jouney of goals and self-discovery is going to be a crazy road. Excited to travel it with my new “GPS”.
When things are not done that I ask my kids to do I usually get one of two answers, “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time”. This usually prompts a short lecture on time management and procrastination. Don’t put things off until the last minute or until later because you may run out of time. Simple concept, do it when you think of it so it gets done.
As the week progressed I found myself not in my studio…at all. Why am I not working on “the project” that I couldn’t tear myself away from earlier. Yes, I have been busy since I went back to work after a two week holiday break and I have had a couple of evening obligations but did I really have no time to work on it, to even touch or reflect on it. Could it be that my kids learned from the best? Yes, I am one of the best “I’ll do it later” people in the world. Not many can procrastinate like me.
The weekend came and I knew I had to get on that project. I did not want to write a blog that I had failed to make any progress on my journey. Saturday came and so I had my usual relaxing morning with the knowledge that I had all day with nothing scheduled to pull me away from working on my project. After relaxing for three hours I realized lunch wasn’t too far away so I decided to clean the kitchen and hit the studio after I had eaten. Lunch came and went. The kitchen wasn’t even close to clean and there I sat. Pulled in. Almost in a trance. Suddenly, the proverbial light bulb went on. What had robbed me of all my time this week? The goal bandit. The great thief of my productivity. It was the television. Did I gain any worth while knowledge by watching the television? No. Was my life expanded or enriched by those hours in front of the television? No. Was anything memorable or a treasured moment made through the experience of watching it. No. Did I loose valuable time that could lead to achieving my goals. Yes.
With this awakening I decided the kitchen could wait. My project could not. I left the kitchen half done with chairs left in my den from the unfinished mopping. I could no longer use the later excuse. It was time. I went to the studio, sat down and began. It wasn’t long until time was lost, but this time it was enriched and memorable, it was productive and another step in my journey. I was creating, being, and dreaming. Where is this project going? Plotting and planning each mark of my blade and rotary tool. Applying sand paper every now and then. Still imaging colors and the possibilities. My mind flew completely free with all the unencumbered choices. Even when I needed to stop two hours later there are so many decisions to still make. Loving that every one takes me down a different road to a different finished product. No one better or worse than the other just different.
Well, I have really let the studio/junk room/music room/sewing room get out of hand. The time had come to take care of this mess and restore the room back to it’s intended purpose…art.
Getting started was the most difficult part. I really hate cleaning. As motivation I put on some music and glanced from time to time at my first goal…the unfinished project. It was lying on my corner table wrapped in a towel to protect it. I don’t dare unwrap it until my studio is clean.
Ok, trash out to the truck, check. Excess supplies to get rid of loaded in the Jeep to take to work, check. All music stuff that is not temperature sensitive moved to the loft, check. Just your normal sweeping and wiping and Yada Yada the deed is done. Well, mostly done.
Sure, it could use some more organizing and straightening but “the unfinished project” was beckoning more loudly than ever. I had worked very hard for nearly a day and a half. It was time.
After unfolding the towel, there it was. I was actually very happy with direction it was going. Excited about the possible outcome and the fact that it was closer to finished than I remembered. I only had 30 minutes before dinner but I had to. I just had to do just a little. Just one section would quench that desire to create.
Wrong, I tore myself away but with satisfied anticipation of my next visit. To live to create again.
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