This post is important for my development. Another turning point. Although the items are specific to me, I hope it might contain some interesting, or possibly even helpful ideas.
It was inspired by a post about limiting beliefs by Milly on her lovely ELW Essence blog. It got me thinking about parts of my life where I wasn’t 100% satisfied, and how I could apply what she said to them. This post is what I came up with.
Since starting to draw and paint in 2010, I have been increasingly consumed by the act of making art. Each drawing I do, each painting I attempt, increases my desire to produce art. However, it has become apparent to me that at my current trajectory I won’t be able to achieve the level that I’d like to in my lifetime. To achieve what I’d like, I should be prolific in my output, drawing and painting like a madman! I would only be fully satisfied with my attempts to explore my artist creativity if I’m able to maintain such a fervour throughout my life. Only then would I know for sure that at the end of my days I won’t look back on my life and wished I had tried harder. I’m not yet showing that determination and passion, so what’s stopping me?
To help me consider this question, I followed Milly’s suggestions about how to think about limiting beliefs.
Why am I not reaching my full potential when it comes to exploring my artistic creativity?
The first step was to consider what excuses I have when I considered the above question. These are beliefs I hold, that might be limiting how I consider the situation. I identified these:
- There is not enough time
- Art is seen as a luxury to do after “higher priority” tasks
- Making art – as a hobby – lacks the respect of working towards a professional career
- Making art is just something that I like to do
For each of the above beliefs, I then posed an opposite question – a challenge to the belief:
- How can I have all the time I want?
- How is art the most high priority of tasks that I’m responsible for?
- How is doing art worthy of professional respect?
- Why is making art a necessity to me? An essential?
Reactions and resolutions
The result of the above 2 steps provided an excellent breakdown to help me consider why I’m not reaching my full potential. Answering the challenge questions gave me fresh perspectives on the situation, and suggested ways to move forward to help me achieve what I desire. This is the result:
1. How can I have all the time I want?
This is a matter of making a concerted effort to follow efficiency advice to maximise the time I have each day – whether it be for art or for other tasks.
ACTION: Follow advice on improving efficiency, and act on it with vigour!
2. How is art the most high priority of tasks that I’m responsible for?
Completing tax forms, researching tiles to use in our new kitchen, sorting boxes in our loft – these glamorous tasks will always be viewed as having a higher priority than something that is just “fun”. But, what if these tasks no longer existed? What if they had all been done? With no other tasks to do, making art would be the de facto highest priority task!
Unfortunately, in my adult experience there have always been tasks to do, so it is hard to imagine a time where I get up on Saturday morning and there is nothing else that I’m meant to be doing. However… theoretically it is possible to get close to this. If I make a determined effort to clear absolutely everything from my task list – and to keep that list empty – then there’d only be art left! In theory.
ACTION: Clear all of my tasks – get to a zero-task state and stay there!
3. How is doing art worthy of professional respect?
Although I wouldn’t be aiming to replace my professional career in IT with one in art, if I were to have some professional achievements in this field outside my actual art work, the work I do might be seen in a different light, with greater respect.
ACTION: Research what professional achievements in art I could aim for, and set goals to achieve them.
4. Why is making art a necessity to me? An essential?
I feel guilty about spending time making art, especially when there are other things I have to do, but I really want to do it. To help eliminate that feeling of guilt, I must show to myself how necessary art now is in my life, and constantly remind myself of this.
ACTION: Keep a portfolio of items that I would like to explore further. I shall call this The Unfinished, and it will be hosted as a page on my blog. It will include a mixture of partially completed items, and finished works that I’d like to expand on. It might also include some source items that I’d like to paint. The Unfinished will be forever changing, according to how my interests develop. By looking at it regularly, I expect it will remind me of how much I want to do, and of how much I’ve enjoyed of the journey so far.
I am extremely pleased I took the time to consider this aspect of my life. It took a few tries at finding the set of limiting beliefs, and coming up with appropriate challenge questions. It would be superb if I’m able to achieve zero-tasks (item 2), with the help of item 1. I will probably leave item 3 for a while, as it isn’t so pressing, but I can’t wait to create my The Unfinished page, as described in item 4. I’ll do this before my birthday next Thursday – a great present to myself! Thank you so much Milly for your inspirational, and hopefully life-changing, post.