"The Gift of the Near Win".
Listening to this speech by Sarah Lewis, I felt myself drifting back in time to when I first started painting and thought about how with each painting I did, the pieces got a little better but they weren't (and still aren't) masterpieces. I didn't win anything so to speak, and often times, I felt likes saying, "man this is a piece of crap", until someone would speak up and say--that's amazing, I love it! You do such colorful and happy work!!
Someone saw something in me that I didn't see in myself.
Not to say I didn't believe in myself, but I was and still am very hard on myself...much harder than anyone ever could be. What if, I threw out everything that was hopelessly unfinished or less then perfect over the last few years? I wouldn't have this art career I now have now, right??? Right!
That's not to say embracing the near win is an excuse for putting out shoddy work or just slapping something together for the sake of doing it (unless that's your intention).
Embracing the near win means that you are on a not so straight path to the finish line, and that fuel of almost getting there, feeds your motivation to do it better, learn more, and reach higher for the next time.
Hopelessly unfinished. Incomplete works. Near wins. We are our own biggest critics, aren't we?
Were you shocked when Sarah mentions all the writers/artists that wanted to discard their work or never quite finished anything? How different our world would be if that were to have happened.
What if those works were destroyed as some of the artists/writers had wanted? Imagine our culture or how history would have been changed. YOU are making history, too. Don't throw it away.
The pursuit of mastery is the path where we find residence for the large majority of our life,
" as the final stop on the way to mastery..is the end".
Place value in your near wins. "Near Wins" have value, even more value than we ourselves can really see.
Keep honing your craft.
When you hear yourself saying...oh my gosh do you see that white mark in the upper left corner, it is hideous, what was I thinking? Or, that portrait is horrible. the eyes are not the same size and the nose is bigger than life.
Is it really horrible? Or are you seeing things others dismiss or never noticed in the first place? They see something else. Perhaps they see reality. Eyes are not the same size and frankly some people have big noses. That's life. Perhaps your viewer sees beauty in the imperfections and feels your emotion you embodied in your work.
Or perhaps it wasn't that great but it was 10x better than your first piece you did 2 years ago. That's progress and you are getting closer to the win.
I'm glad I used each near win to motivate me to do better the next time. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I said, I'm not there...YET.
Embrace the GIFT of a near Win.
Until next time,
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