Personal Success

Art is Hard (for Me)

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I’ve always wanted to draw. I had a babysitter (Julie) who shut that dream down when I was six. She told me I couldn’t draw or color well.

Yet, when shopping for art supplies for my daughters, I’ve always lingered in front of the pencils and drawing tablets, the paints and brushes a bit longer than necessary. I’ve saved tons of art supplies for “someday” when I have time to take a class.

I realized that “someday” is pure imagination. We only have TODAY.

For my birthday, I treated myself to Lisa Congdon’s book, 20 Ways to Draw Everything. It got 5 out of 5 stars! I’ve watched her videos. She’s really good. It arrived in the mail today. But page after page just shows 20 dogs, 20 rabbits, 20 flowers, etc. perfectly drawn! There are no step-by-step directions. In the very beginning of the book, she instructs “Draw the big shapes and lines first, then add in the smaller details.” Really?

That’s it?

I need a lot more help.

So I drew and drew and the whole time, my inner critic was talking snidely to me. Seriously, do you call that a leg?

Look at Jazz. He looks like he’s had a craniotomy.

Oh for Pete’s sakes! Why do all of your dogs look pregnant?

Precious looks broken.

Is Brutus a dog or a deer?

I have to laugh. My inner critic is funny. My drawings are funny. I want to get good, but in my own way. I’ll never be Lisa Congdon good and that’s OK. I also ordered Milk and Honey. Look at one of her illustrations:

 

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From Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

 

Her illustration is not “perfect.” It’s impactful. Her poetry has resonated with so many readers that her volume of poetry is a New York Times Bestseller.

So, I’m not going for perfect. I’m on a quest to develop my own style.

Screw you, Julie!

 

Personal Success

Just Try…and Then Let It Go

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It’s that time of year again…when students who want to vye for a Student Council Officer position run their campaigns: create posters, prepare speeches, record them and hope for the best.

As I recorded several children giving their speeches, I was touched by their earnestness and jitters. It’s impossible for all who run to win, yet they are all – each of them – winners.

If there’s one thing I think we don’t teach our children enough (at home or school) is that it’s OK to try, to take a risk and not reach our goal. That it doesn’t mean we’re failures or that we ought to be ashamed.

It might sound like common sense to you.

Yet the words “loser” and “ashamed” are so pervasive in our culture. And “risktaker” denotes a type of reckless stunt person.

Risk-taking is the only way we grow, and it often includes some degree of pain.

 

 

motivation, Personal Success

Unsolicited Advice

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I went rollerskating today. It’s one of my “flow” activities: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined flow activity as being in the groove or “in the zone.” It’s when you’re so utterly absorbed in what you’re doing, that time passes without regard.

I’m skating and happy when an older gentleman gestures for me to come to him. I relent. I’ve seen this guy before, he’s a good skater. He looks like a slender Santa Claus – easily in his 70s. I’m curious.

“When you move forward, move your skates outward, not backward. Do you know why?”

I answer, “I’ll go faster?”

By now, I’m miffed that he’s telling me how to skate better when I’ve been skating for nearly 40 years. But I listen. I’m curious.

I consciously skate outward. It works!

“When you turn, bend your left leg. Lean into the turn. Don’t lift your right leg.”

This takes me a lot more focus. I realize I have a hard habit. But he’s right. My upper body is much more stable. It feels better.

My resentment is just a whisper now. But it’s there. He hangs back. I smile in appreciation.

He doesn’t try to talk to me for the duration of my skate. I focus on my newfound skills and realize…after 40 years of skating, I learned something new!

If I had gotten defensive and refused to listen, I would not have learned.

We need to be receptive in order to accept constructive criticism. And this receptivity is in our control.

 

 

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

What’s Behind Amazing Feats

 

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From CNN.com

Can a single mom with four children, build a house for her family, using YouTube videos?

Yes, she can.

Motivation is tricky. You have to have several factors present, including:

  • The belief you can achieve the objective (advancement);
  • autonomy (you have free will and the ability to it your way); and
  • responsibility (you take on what you need to in order to achieve it)/

 

What are you motivated to achieve?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Whirlybird Lunacy

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There is a label, in the education field, for parents who “hover” over their children in an overprotective, and micro-managing way: helicopter parenting.

As teachers, we get it.  You don’t want your child to ever “fail.” You want to prove to your child, the world, your self, that you are an involved parent. But you are not doing your child any favors.

When you hover, you:

  • subconsciously tell your kid that you don’t trust him to do it himself;
  • create anxiety for your child;
  • cheat your child out of the opportunity to work independently;
  • cheat your child out of learning from failing; and
  • cheat your child out of accomplishing something on his own.

 Sometimes, effective parenting means surrendering.