People tell themselves a lot of stupid things. One of the most poisonous is “I can’t.”
Well, if you say you can’t, then you can’t.
I started weightlifting in 2014. I was skinny fat and looked like shit.
I had a potbelly and noodle arms.
I used to do martial arts over a decade prior to that and before that, I was really good at American football. Not good enough to play semi-pro, but almost.
So I had the coordination. It was just that over the years, I let myself go sitting in an office for 40+ hours a week plus stuck in traffic 10+ hours a week. I also had a less than ideal diet. I bought into the diet lie that the corporate media drums into our heads and it was literally killing me slowly.
Luckily, from sports, I knew that “I can’t” is a poisonous phrase. Once you start thinking “I can’t,” you’ve already lost. And I hate losing.
It took me forever…
I’ve always had strong legs. At 165 pounds of skinny fat, I could squat and deadlift decent amounts but it took me forever to bench a single plate.
I felt like a dork lying with my back on a bench and 15 pounds on each side. But, I knew if I were ever going to lift a plate, I’d have to take awhile looking like a dork.
You know what though?
Nobody cares. Nobody’s watching you. Everyone is thinking you’re watching them.
That’s the secret to the gym. Everyone is thinking you’re watching them. But nobody is watching you.
Once you get that thru your thick skull, you’ll realize you need to focus on your own shit rather than worry about what other people are thinking about you.
Well, it took me over a year. But now, I warm up with a plate. I have a pretty strong chest. And I’m no longer skinny fat. My body looks pretty good.
You just have to stick with it.
Guitar is the same thing
I’m using guitar as an example but you can replace guitar with anything. Yes, anything.
I first started playing guitar in the late 80s. At the time, everyone cool was into 80s Metal. It was a great time to be alive.
Americans loved America and there were hot babes everywhere. People took their looks seriously. And by taking their looks seriously, their health was significantly better. Imagine that.
So when some douchebag tries to tell you that all bodies are beautiful, what they really want to do is raise your health insurance premiums. Those people can fuck themselves. Call them out!
Anyways, back to guitar.
I practiced every chance I got. As soon as I got home from school or work, I practiced guitar.
Couldn’t sleep? Practice guitar.
A chick cancels a date? Practice guitar.
I even practiced guitar while watching tv.
The other people? They practiced maybe 10 minutes a day. Then they wondered why they never improved.
Weird how that works.
It’s the same with drawing
In my early 30s, I drew like a child. My drawings looked like shit.
I got tired of seeing stuff on people’s refrigerators drawn by children that looked like the stuff I drew.
Luckily, I came across this old lady. I wish I remember her name because I’d love to give her credit.
She said that everything is lines and circles. So every morning, start drawing lines and circles. Over and over and over again.
My lines and circles got better and better.
By my mid-30s, I was able to draw pretty cool cartoons. I had this computer program called Toon Boom Studio and my wife and I started making cartoons.
Some of them actually weren’t too bad.
That’s where I got the idea for Opium Tales. It started off as a cartoon.
Now, I could have told myself “I can’t draw” and left it at that. But what did we learn from sports? That’s right. Once you say “I can’t,” you’ll lose.
I’m not put on this earth to lose. If you’re reading this blog, then you’re not either.
It’s words, my friend. Watch your words, especially your self-talk. If your self-talk doesn’t encourage you, you need to reprogram it. Stop any “I can’t” and start doing the work.
Although the cartoon Opium Tales never got funding, those stories are now short stories that you can enjoy here:
Oh and coming up, I got 2 watercolor posts I’m working on – painting watercolors on glass and my watercolor flower technique.
I’ll be honest about watercolors on glass. You’ll see the strengths and weaknesses of glass. It may just be a novelty thing.
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I understood this when I noticed that people who just do things without worrying eventually come up with something good. Those who worry… not so much.
That’s the right mindset – to just do things without worrying about it.