Sure it’s nice to dream. There have been a million things I’ve said which I’ll probably never attempt or dream of trying. I keep saying that I want to be a singer, guitar player, stand up comedian, dancer, youtuber the list is endless. I’ll hear a song, watch a comic and see the success they have and I’ll think to myself “I could do that”.
But be it a new pursuit or an existing pursuit, there’s always this sense and feeling of standing at the bottom of the mountain and looking upward. A goal of wanting to climb the top of a hill can seem incredibly simple. Let's say we’re at a stage when we’ve decided to commit, we’re ready to climb. Now all the complications start getting in the way. How much water and food should we bring? How much weight can we bare in our backpacks on the way up? What’s our safety plan in case we need to retreat?
All of a sudden our romantic idea can seem more like a chore instead of this thrilling life event.
In all honesty, at times I get nervous about my pursuit of becoming a full-time freelancer. I left a graphic design job at an agency to pursue what I thought at the time would be a freelancing business doing lettering. My lack of planning and experience has certainly gotten the better of me at times, and the journey often feels incredibly uncertain.
When I focus on all the things, I’m yet to achieve I can easily get disheartened and feel I want to hang the whole thing up. If I’m honest, at times my paranoia gets the best of me, and I think people are laughing at how naive I am.
But when I shift my mindset to think more positively, I think about all the pieces of work; I created that failed. I think about the abilities I have gained, to create the work I’m making now. In comparison to when I first started, the results are undoubtedly staggering.
To visually show this, I wanted to put a “before” and “after” shot in this blog to show the change.
The first illustration completed in 2012 and the second completed in 2018. What can attest these results? Now I hated hearing this when I was starting out. But the credit is all due to one annoying and straightforward word: practice.
Matt Heafy from the band Trivium has been heavily involved with Jiu-Jitsu over the last five years. With his incredible guitar abilities, a lot of people ask him where he attained his “talent”. He simply tells stories of how he’d lock himself in his room as a teenager and played the guitar for 8 hours a day. Now with his new interest in Jiu-Jitsu, he keeps accrediting his abilities to “time on the mat”.
Repetitive as always but we learn by doing. We learn by experiencing. We learn by being dumped in the deep end and being forced to figure it out.
It’s easy to look at things in hindsight and think it was a master plan and everything worked out. But when starting out, we need to realise that we need time and experience under our belt to achieve excellent results.
As much as life can seem like one hurdle after the next, we can adopt a mindset of wanting to grow and learn from all and new experiences. We can help eliminate some of the stress and doubt of our pursuits and enjoy the journey, by adopting a more expansive mindset.
So if you are wanting to learn a new skill or head in the direction of being better at something, start by practising daily. Write out a schedule, isolate a block of time every day and stay consistent. But most of all don’t give up, especially in the beginning! Push your limits and be uncomfortable, which is the only way you’ll experience growth. Keep trying and keep pushing. If you keep at it, you'll look back in 5 years realising you weren't crazy and you'll forever thank yourself for the work you put in.