Make Mistakes. Lots of Them.

fear-of-failure-failing-making-mistakes

 

“What do I paint?” I asked, staring at the blank canvas holding a brand new paintbrush in my hand.

“Anything.” he said.

I hesitated. “But I don’t even no where to begin.” I confessed.

I looked around at the other students who seemed to be clear and focused in their work. I was envious of their certainty and desirous of the decisiveness that came with each press of paint on paper they made.

I really don’t want to mess up, I thought to myself.

I let out a sigh and said, “Okay…” unsurely. My teacher kindly smiled back at me and continued making his rounds around the classroom.

I stood there for awhile before I got the nerve to finally rip my paint brush through the white hide of the bare canvas. I dipped my brush in to a bright yellow mixed with a deep blue and scraped the green creation across the canvas. It wasn’t much nor was it very pretty but it felt good to begin.

And isn’t that always the hardest part— beginning?

We have this tendency to wipe out our chance of creating anything of greatness because we are so terrified of getting a little dirty and messing things up.

When my teacher came back around shortly after, I was expecting a critique of my mismatched mess of colors. Instead, he nodded with the same reassuring smile and said, “I really like your choice of colors.” and kept on going. To my own surprise, I felt proud.

“I did it.” I thought. I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going but I started. I had faith, for the first time, that maybe I could turn this nothing into something great, if I kept on going.

What if we could all admire the muddle of colors on canvas and not simply the picture they may or may not make? What if we could focus on the composition of things instead of scrutinizing the details or the minor imperfections? What if we chose to see the first touch of brush to canvas as a success in of itself, no matter the mark it makes?

Most of us, when guaranteed with the results of something are much more likely to commit to the process. But what about when the results don’t come, at least not right away?

What keeps us moving when there is no path paved and no guarantee of success?

Recently, I have realized I have never had too many people in my corner cheering me on. I’ve stood alone in many of my dreams in fear of moving forward, aching for someone to push me into action, hoping for someone to assure me it will all work out. I come from a past of people who put aside their dreams for the sake of helping to fulfill the dreams of others. I come from a family of judgment, skepticism, doubt, practicality and fear. I come from a family who value a sense of comfort over the opportunities that come only with taking risks. I come from a family who fastened me down to the conventional system of education, leaving my creative heart to rust like the hub on a wheel of a bicycle, never given the chance to spin.

But we are meant to spin— wildly, madly, and passionately from our heart’s instinctive desires, wholly untamed and entirely free. We are born to move. We are born to fly. We are made to revolve and evolve from our center. We are made to make mistakes. Yet, our center is constantly left jammed from the lack of love, trust, and attention that it needs to keep our wheels in motion and in our lives in balance.

So, where is the desire to keep moving derived from when the results are not coming and our hope is deteriorating?

It must come from our ‘spiritual running buddies’, our creative kinship of supporters that hold us accountable and empower us to keep on moving, to keep on spinning. It must come from people like my art teacher, people who want to see us succeed but more than that, people who want to see us—be free. It must come from the people in our lives who recognize and believe in the greatness in us, even if we have yet to see it in ourselves.

Go after what your heart wants and surround yourself with those who support you in doing so. The worry, skepticism, and judgment from others, does not serve you. It surely has not served me.

Be free.

-Paulee McCormack

 

 

There is a creative spirit in you
destined to be freed.
There is an obedient child in you
anxious to break the rules.
There is a dance in you
begging to be danced.
There is dreamer in you
waiting to dream, again.

Remember her.
Remember him.

There is a song in you
ready to be born.
There is a song in you
hoping to be sung.
There is a song in you
that needs to be heard.
Sing it.
You must sing it.

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