I’m going to let you in on a secret. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time.
Actually, half the time? Heh. That’s generous. Most of the time.
And I’m not talking about watercolors. I’m talking about life.
The thing is, neither does anyone else. We’re all just winging it.
Life doesn’t come with a handbook. You don’t get a set of directions to tell you to do this, then do this. And now? Do this.
You’re on your own.
And you know what? That’s OK.
You know that inner voice that talks to you? Some of us even talk back to it and have a two way conversation with it.
Well, mine used to be a complete asshole. It used to say things that you’d say to your worst enemy. And it will also fill me with doubt. I’d be scared to try something new because of that inner voice.
Well, I retrained mine. Mine is now a coach. And a friend.
It took years. We’re all at varying levels of functionality and dysfunctionality. I don’t think anyone’s 100% sane nowadays.
But once again, that’s OK.
Training my inner voice to be supportive was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. Now, rather than making fun of everything I do, it tells me how I can do it. Like a coach. But, a real good coach. Like a Vince Lombardi or Phil Jackson.
Our brains are rewireable. We can literally program them to be good at the things we need to be good at.
Persistence, Habits, and Repetition
Everything becomes a habit. Habits don’t have to be a bad thing. For instance, I do a 5 minute sketch every single morning. That’s a habit. Once you start replacing bad habits with good habits, your life will get so much easier.
I changed my diet too. I only eat twice a day rather than three times a day. No snacking whatsoever. Someone brings donuts into work? No thanks. I’ll pass. I’ll only eat birthday cake if I really, really like the person. Otherwise, no thanks. I’ll pass.
Once you start developing good habits, you can literally be good at anything. I’m pretty good at guitar because I practiced at least an hour daily. When I was a late teen, all my other friends wanted to get drunk on weekends. Instead, I practiced guitar. Then, they wonder why I passed them all up within a year.
Everyone thought it was natural talent. Nope. Persistence and discipline.
We improve by developing skill sets
What would you say if I asked you “what are you good at?” Would you be able to give me a list?
Over the years, I’ve developed some life skill sets and got good at the important ones. I learned nutrition from a coach, weightlifting from a coach, home finance from self-help books, guitar from jamming with friends, and piano from a piano teacher. I got good at all those things.
You can learn from other people. Or books. Or nowadays, even YouTube.
When Allie approached me about taking my art seriously, I started off with colored pencils. I started watching people painting on YouTube. Oils and acrylics looked really cool. However, I live in a tiny ass apartment. I thought watercolors would be more practical. Thus, I decided to try watercolors and been in love with them ever since.
Life gets way easier once you have some skill sets
Life gets significantly easier once you’ve acquired some skill sets. I put health at the top, relationships second, and finances third. Once you get good at all three, you’ll have a pretty good life. Guaranteed.
I had to learn all that stuff on my own. Like I said above, I hired coaches for health. I learned about healthy relationships by watching functional people. You get treated by how much you allow. For instance, if someone treats you like shit, did you cut them out of your life? If not, why haven’t you already?
This isn’t a finance blog so I’m not going to waste time here, other than I learned that if you live within your means and put 10% of everything you make into your investments, you’ll be doing pretty well within a decade.
“But I want it now!”
Grow up. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to work for it.
I use finance as an example for that mindset because it’s the most obvious. That said, you can apply that to everything.
If you want to be a great artist, you’re not going to be selling a million dollar paintings in one year. You’re going to be busting your ass for at least a decade.
I’ve been drawing daily for almost a decade now. I’ve been playing guitar for over thirty years and piano on and off during that time.
And that doesn’t include drawing and doodling for decades before that. I used to make silly cartoons for friends of stupid shit we did. They’d laugh.
So the art was always there. I only decided to take it seriously this decade.
So keep going. Develop the skill sets you need for what you want to accomplish.
We’re all just winging it in life anyways. If you’re actually good at the important things, you’ll do well in life. And that will significantly help your art by allowing you to focus on art rather than the world falling down around you.