Two months into my painting classes I was feeling quite proud of myself. I could see the improvement with each lesson. My last project was hanging on the wall and made me smile each time I looked at it.
Fresh from this success I decided I was ready to take on a more difficult picture. I tackled it with confidence but by the end of my lesson was feeling disappointed. It wasn’t going well and I hoped it was just at an awkward stage and would look better once finished.
The next time I saw my instructor she told me to paint over my picture and start again. I felt like a failure. My work must be terrible if I couldn’t salvage what I’d started.
She showed me where I’d gone wrong and what needed to change. I had done things my own way and they hadn’t worked. Now I needed to consider the hours already invested as a lesson learned and not wasted time. It would be far more productive to start again than to try to fix my mistakes.
Originally I had started with the focal point. This time I filled in the background first. Step by step I built up to the area to be featured. The result was much better than the first attempt.
Instead of being passable, it was now something I could be proud of. I had no idea the background details were so important.
This experience taught me that past success doesn’t guarantee the same in the future. I hope I have learned not to be so sure of myself that I fail to listen to advice. The work I’ve done and the hours put in are not worth a thing if I’m not getting the desired results.
No matter how much I think I know, sometimes starting over from a new perspective is just what is needed.
I am happy to announce my new book, Another Perspective has now been published. It is available on Amazon or directly from me.
Have you ever played Tetris? This video game has various shaped tiles which descend on your screen and you need to manipulate them so they fit together. That’s a very simple explanation, but I’m sure many of you have played or know of this game.
I am a fan on hands-on rather than computer games so was pleased to find a wooden version of this puzzle.
My eleven-year-old grandson was happy to be the first to sit down with the challenge. Before long he had successfully completed the puzzle. I was impressed when twice more he fit random pieces together with the same positive result.
Each time he finished, the design of the coloured blocks was different. This gave me hope that since there was obviously more than one solution, I might be able to put it together as well.
Then the scene in front of me changed. Rather than going by instinct, my grandson studied the pieces and created intricate patterns. When he was left with one or two pieces that didn’t fit, he was confused and frustrated. The first few times had been so easy that he couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.
This boy is a thinker so started over again, carefully planning each piece of the puzzle. It still didn’t work. Unfortunately, this was repeated again and again, becoming more difficult each time.
The lesson I learned from watching him is not to over think a situation. My initial instincts are usually correct. When I constantly second guess myself I end up unable to complete even a simple task.
Paralysis by analysis never works out to my benefit.
I am fascinated to watch Olympic Figure Skaters. They are graceful and make difficult moves look effortless. The speed with which they are on their feet again after a fall never ceases to amaze me.
A lot can be learned from the way they put a mistake behind them and continue as if nothing happened. This gives a powerful visual to the phrase, “Shake it off and carry on.”
The commentators gave me some new insight into this. When one of the complicated jumps results in a fall, it is not the disaster I would have assumed. Only one point is deducted. I saw a skater fall, redeem herself in the rest of her performance and end up near the top of the standings.
On the other hand, when a jump is a required element of a program and not attempted, zero points are awarded for this portion. It would have been more advantageous to fall than not to attempt the jump.
This is a good life lesson for me. I have often been unsure I could accomplish something so played it safe and not even tried. After all, if would be embarrassing to have people see me fall.
Unfortunately, this offers no hope for master anything new. I may have to fall and get back up many times before I’m successful. Instead of being concerned about what others think, I need to focus on doing my best.
The mental image of the figure skaters will help inspire me to go ahead and take a leap of faith.
The words didn’t make sense to me. I could understand being told to do my best. After all, I’ve heard no one can ask more of you than to do your best. Yet here was someone asking for more than that.
When I heard, “Do more than you think you can,” I laughed to myself, thinking that wasn’t possible. And then – I did it! I pushed myself harder to see if it was possible and ended up doing more than I thought I could.
I learned I’d been settling for less than my best for quite some time. What had formerly been my best was now commonplace and I was capable of much more. This was a huge eye-opener for me.
The lesson I learned was that I’m capable of doing much more than I think I can. Even so, there are limits to what I can achieve on my own.
Over the past few years, I’ve done many things I never thought I could. This happened when I stopped limiting myself and God by staying stuck in, “I can’t.” What would not be possible for me is no problem for The Lord. Now, I say, “If you want me to do this, I trust you’ll make it happen.”
Life is much more fulfilling when I don’t attempt to tackle it on my own. I am not supposed to be able to do everything. When I put my trust in the Lord, I can stand back and watch him do immeasurably more than I ever dreamed of my life. Every success and achievement is due to him and for that, I can never thank him enough.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)