Doing what I think I should be doing not what I think others think I should be doing.
“Don’t break your shin on a stool that is not in your way.” — Irish Proverb
Over the past several years I’ve set some creative goals for myself as the a new year begins. I am determined to set those resolutions and ‘this time’ follow through. I usually overdo it and add to many, or make them too rigid or too unreasonable. This year I was DETERMINED to achieve them.
I have been following a couple of pod-casts that gave me some really good ideas (visit Melissa if you need a jolt). I even put an app on my phone to help keep me on task. Well, so far, so good. (yes, I know it is still only January, nevertheless).
BUT – I read the above Irish Proverb the other day (and put it into one of my tiny books which will soon be sent to an Art-O-Mat machine near you) that, silly as it might sound, really was quite profound for me.
It made me realize that to some extent I create my own problem when it comes to setting and achieving goals. That is, I hear a podcast or see an article by someone else and think about THEIR issues and somehow convince myself that I have those same issues. Sometimes I do…but sometimes I DON’T and hence I shouldn’t be breaking my shins on THAT problem – because I don’t HAVE that problem!! So, it is sometimes a matter of determining if the goal is something I really want to achieve or what I think others expect of me. Make sense?
For example, I am a calligrapher. I do commissions for other people. I have some ‘followers’. I know I often post things based on what I think others might expect of me. I think in the recent past I have been spending hours (or NOT spending the hours and feeling guilty about it) doing things that I think others expect. Hmmm.
Lately, I’ve been working on a series (see last post) and it has really made me focus on what it is I want to do. And I am saving my shins by letting go of what I think others expect. Quite freeing and quite satisfying. I still worry at times that my work wouldn’t hold up to the scrutiny of people I respect, but I have to remember that they aren’t looking anyway (most likely). So I try to evaluate its quality (are the letterforms acceptable, do they demonstrate some knowledge or skill) but then I try to let go and experiment and say ‘to heck with what other people think’.
It’s hard – but feels good if I can do it. It also makes spending the time on my work so much more gratifying and less exhausting.
So, I’m going to live with this proverb for a while since it has gotten me this far (thru January!) in achieving some goals. The Strides app, by the way, is very simple, not very intrusive. I didn’t want an app that just made for more time wasted NOT doing things I wanted to do.
There you have it. Til’ next time.