When I was a child I loved to draw. But I had this illusion that everything I drew should have crystalline detail. The kind of detail you see in high resolution photographs. So I’d fuss over every… single… detail… as I drew. If a line wasn’t right, I’d erase it and try again, and again. Sometimes it took me hours to draw a chin or eyes. And I never thought I got it right!
As you imagine, this was frustrating. I never created art that looked remotely like what I envisioned. And the way I drew was a slow, monotonous process because I expected each part of the picture to be perfect immediately. And they weren’t.
In time I stopped drawing because it was easier to just avoid it than to produce sub-standard work—at least that’s what I’d convinced myself because my subconscious mind believed that anything I did had to be perfect. And that anything I couldn’t do perfectly wasn’t worth doing.
I also carried this pattern of behavior into the rest of my life. When I wrote, each sentence had to be perfect. I’d fuss for hours over a single sentence, trying to get all of the words in the right places and the feeling right. And, yes, writing that was slow and painful too.
What I failed to understand was that nothing is perfect. Even the most brilliant piece of art or the most celebrated work of fiction has flaws in it. You and I might not see those flaws, but if you ask the artist of author they’ll tell you there was something about it that wasn’t exactly how they’d planned.
I also didn’t realize that it takes time—and usually lots of it—to become skilled in any craft. When we listen to the Piano Virtuoso in concert what we’re actually hearing is the result of thousands of hours of practice. The same is true when we watch the pro Football Quarterback throw the 50 yard touchdown. That pass is the result of a lifetime of practice.
So, as you’re learning your craft, give yourself a few gifts that will help you master it.
- Allow yourself to be imperfect. Do things the best you can and seek improvement each time. Learn from your mistakes and focus on the weak areas. In time you’ll amaze others with your skill.
- Give yourself time to perfect your craft. Understand that it takes time and effort to hone your skills. When you understand this concept you’ll find practice easier because you know that each practice adds a layer of skill to your craft. You’re getting better each day!
No matter what you love, do it! Approach it with passion and enjoy the process! In time others will see your work and think, “Wow! I wish I could do that!”
And you’ll know that what they see as perfection in you in really imperfect. But that it’s your best and that’s good enough!
P.S. Today I apply these concepts to my writing and the rest of my life. The results have been my books and this blog. they aren’t prefect, but they’re pretty darn good! And they are my best and that’s good enough!
You Are The Master of Your Destiny!
Copyright © 2011 Roland Byrd — All Rights Reserved