“Why Not?” are actually somewhat powerful words. They ask you to supply a good enough reason not to do something, to present a worthy argument against your fears. When asked, maybe you’d like to actually do it and you’re holding back or maybe you’d really rather not to and you honestly have a legitimate reason to hold back. But sometimes, as talked about in last week’s post, you have to take a deep breath, hold yourself steady and take the plunge.
There are in fact a good number of things to answer negatively to those words, that much is very true. For example (I shouldn’t even have to be supplying these, but), why not jump into a pool of sharks with sausages wrapped around your neck – and if I have to tell you why, I’m sorry… Standing outside in a thunderstorm holding a metal rod. Licking a car battery. Licking frozen metal. The list could go on – and does, but we’re not really interested in those sorts of questions, so, for now we’ll leave it at that. We already know the answers to those questions and most of them aren’t good ones or ones that we’d like to hear. Those are questions we shouldn’t be pursuing right now. We’ve got better ones to ask.
But there are a good number of questions that you should ask yourself “Why Not?” too. Why not start painting that picture that you had the idea for? Why not take out those pens and inks that you picked up a while back and see how they do? Why not go out for a while and take some pictures in the early sunlight or just at dusk like you’ve thought of doing before? Why not?
Those are the questions that we are interested in at the moment. They don’t all have to be related to art or artistic pursuits; it can be applied to many areas of our daily lives. Why not pull out that recipe you’ve been wanting to try? Why not go out for a Sunday afternoon drive? Why not try that new game that you’ve been wanting to?
You may answer those same questions with “Well, I’m not that artistic…”, or “I’ve never really done anything like that before, so I’d probably not be any good at it…”, or even “Why should I, there are so many people better at it than I could ever be…”
Those are not the right answers. At all. They are the right questions, but certainly the wrong answers. And believe me, I’ve heard them all.
Maybe you don’t feel like you actually have the time – and maybe you don’t right now. That would be a legitimate answer – but one day you will. Maybe you feel like you’ll get lost in the shuffle and become a part of the white noise. Maybe you think that you’re not good enough or that you’re just going to botch it up because you’ve never done anything like it before. Well, who’s to say you’re not going to mess it up the first time?
And who is to say that is a bad thing? It actually really isn’t a bad thing – it can even be a good thing. It’s how we learn as humans. Not succeeding isn’t a bad thing – it just means try again, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that you are a failure. You just have to pick yourself up again and try one more time. Unless you’re dealing with nuclear particles or explosives of some sort, you’re usually allowed to have another try.
So what if the first picture you paint looks like you dropped the paint pallet on the canvas and decided to add some darker spots to shadows – in the wrong places? So what if your drawing looks more like a stick figure than a lesson in human muscular structure? So what if your photos are out of focus and grainy, capturing only half of what you wanted and your thumb is obscuring the frame? Or perhaps you forgot the lens cap.
“So What?” are powerful words too. They are a good counter to all those negative answers you might get.
You can paint over it or try another canvas. You can study what you’re trying to draw and grab a fresh piece of paper or just use the eraser. You can reload that camera and give it another go.
Too often we forget just what we are capable of if we set our minds to it. Too often we give up before we even try. Trust yourself and you can accomplish anything.