Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why You Fail

I wanted to take a moment today to talk about self confidence.

Everyone, no matter what profession, has heard that the key to success - socially, at your job, and in life - is to "believe in yourself." When I was younger, I found this cliché phrase to be incredibly insufficient advice. "Believe in myself"? What does that even mean? Why do I feel like I'm being true to myself but I'm still not accomplishing all of my goals at the drop of a hat?

What I didn't understand is the deeper meaning of what this phrase is getting at: it's not about refusing to change, or being unapologetic for your personality. In fact, at least to me, it's almost exactly the opposite. It's about having the right mindset.

I was still confused about this phrase a few years ago when Dave and I decided to watch Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back on some random night (like you do). And when we did, this scene spoke to me on a level that it certainly hadn't when I first saw it as a kid.

I know I'm an uber-nerd for saying this, but seriously, there is so much wisdom in this one little scene that's applicable to art AND to life. I may even argue that it's the best scene in the original trilogy.

I felt very challenged in Digital Painting class last week when we went from our first assignment, a greyscale painting of some white objects and their shadows, to our second, a (still grayscale) master study. I found myself complaining in my head that this second assignment was so much harder and thinking we were moving too fast. But really it's "no different... only different in your mind." I didn't believe that I had the ability to finish it. And "that is why you fail."

I think a more accurate (although still cliché) phrase is "You can do anything you set your mind to." Because it involves setting your mind to it. It involves being willing to fail and having determination. But most of all, it involves believing that what you want to accomplish is actually possible. Because if you don't think it is, then you've lost before you've even begun.

© Gina Florio 2014

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