Not for You or Not Enough?

Aug 29, 2017 at 11:55 pm by Barbara Din

Sometimes you start dabbling in something that seemed exciting and you instantly feel right at home; you love the process every step of the way and you like the first results enough to feel motivated to keep getting better at it. This is great! And, maybe not that common.

But, there are times when you struggle right from the beginning. And understanding what is going on here might not be as easy because jumping to conclusions without careful examination might make you take the wrong path.

I started asking myself the question that titles this article after finding myself hating every bit of a particular kind of painting every time I tried it. Most would automatically assume that while it sounded great in theory, in practice it wasn't for them. But, I remembered that when you start practicing something physical, be it a sport, dancing or fitness classes, your muscles really hurt in the beginning. You must endure this physical pain in order to reach a point in which you can perform without hurting. Your muscles are not used to flexing this way this much, so there is an adjustment period.

This applies to everything new you try, actually. The pain may not be physical in many other cases, but the struggle is there when you start making new brain connections, using your senses in a different way than you're used to, or even having to move your hands in ways you never did before. When it is a combination of all of the above, it can become overwhelming.

But... that feeling... Does it mean that this thing you're trying is not for you, or is it the "brain muscles" flexing in new ways and you have to keep doing it until it hurts no more?

I can't answer that question for you, but I think it is an important question to ask if you find yourself in a situation like this. Even I haven't answered that question for myself in the case I mentioned above. But, I'll share with you some things I'll keep in mind while I give it some more time:

Do the results of my efforts show enough potential to motivate me?

This is not the most important, I think, but if something I made struggling has something I like at the end of it, I might have some fuel to keep burning.

Is there anything about the process I enjoy?
Maybe there's a drop of it I enjoy and I'm losing it in the sea of suffering. If I can identify those drops, I might find something else that makes use of them, but not the parts I don't like.

This is a game of pros and cons, really. You have to weigh them in order to come to a conclusion. But in order to have enough information to do that, you have to give this new thing a fighting chance.

Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links:

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