Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Five Reasons to Challenge Yourself

No one really enjoys doing things they're not good at.  I've never liked the expression "Practice Makes Perfect."  Because perfection is an illusion.  Practice itself IS perfect.  Here are two images that sum it up perfectly:

One of the things I've been challenging myself to do is to paint loose watercolors.  It goes against all of my instincts for control and predictability.

But here's why it's important to keep practicing and to share my progress -- even if I'm not where I want to be with this technique.

1. If you never try something new, you'll never know what you're capable of.  

It's super comfortable to keep doing something I already feel I've mastered and am good at. But if I don´t challenge myself and try new things, I'll never know my potential.  My advice:  choose one thing you´d like to try but are afraid to do wrong, and go for it!

2. Challenges help us grow.

I know that in my life, challenging situations -- even very unpleasant ones -- have helped me grow personally as well as professionally.  Have you experienced this?  Sometimes we have to experience failure, pain, and even near-destruction to grow and realize our true potential.  My advice:  Do something you didn't know you were capable of, and observe whether you become more confident, knowledgeable and skilled.  You'll never grow by just thinking about trying something new. 

3. Challenge breeds creative thinking.

When I challenge myself to do something new and scary, it prompts realizations, new ideas, and new inspiration in ways I never even imagined.  My advice:  do something you feel you don't have the skills for and just see where it takes you, and how you find solutions you didn't even know were up your sleeve.  

4. Challenges make you more aware and in the moment.

When I keep doing things that are in my comfort zone, I get mentally lazy and tired. When I challenge myself, I am much more focused and engaged.  My advice:  Do something out of your comfort zone and be aware of everything about it -- even how it makes you scared or tense or insecure.  And then watch how those feelings change as you make progress.

5. Challenging yourself will help you outside of your artwork, when life throws you curve balls.

One of the reasons to practice difficult poses in yoga is to watch how our minds react to the challenge.  We practice maintaining an even breath and holding our calm and peace, even when we are wobbling or throbbing.  The idea is to take that practice off the mat and into the world.  If you challenge yourself in your art by learning a new technique, and practice being kind to yourself as you practice, you will see the value in every experience whether it is good or bad.  As a result, you will be that much more calm and  resourceful when faced with challenging and unexpected events outside your studio.  My advice:  do something new and scary, and know that every time you persevere, you are taking an important step to realize the possibilities that life has in store for you. 

Here's where I am with my watercolor flowers.  I'm making progress!

You can also watch Watercolor Flower Tutorial on YouTube.

What have you been afraid to try?  Share in the comments below, and let's all pledge together to support each other and try something new.

In general, I keep politics off my blog.  But it would be odd to have this post, which I wrote a month ago, go out without acknowledging the presidential election in the USA.  Without getting into it too much, I offer these two graphics, which you are free to download for your personal use.

I've also donated $10 each in monthly recurring gifts to different organizations in "honor" of our President-Elect, VP-Elect and team. Donald Trump and Mike Pence will get cards letting them know that they inspired me to support Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Ocean Conservancy, and the Human Rights Commission. 

Imagine if each of us donated $10 to similar organizations in their honor.   I figure I can allocate $50 a month to protect the rights I hold dear.
If you decide to do the same, you can have your thank you cards sent to: Donald Trump, The Trump Organization 725 5th Avenue New York, NY 10022, email: info@donaldjtrump.com; and Mike Pence: 200 W. Washington St., Rm. 206, Indianapolis, IN 46204, email: info@mikepence.com

And the winner of the Archetype Book is...

Congratulations Angelina.  Check your inbox for my email!

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  1. Thanks, Jessica, not only for your art but for your thoughts as well. It certainly has been a difficult time for most of us following the most recent the election, but I am a firm believer in the thought that art heels. You are doing much toward that end for those of us who are here. Mwah!

  2. Thanks for the inspiring post! I agreed with your ideas about trying new things and continue to challenge yourself. Loved watching you paint those beautiful flowers.

    xx Michelle

  3. Your post is inspiring and your actions are admirable! Thank you for your positive example.

  4. great post Jessica! I so agree with your reasons fro practice and progress. watercolor is not my forté and so I have pushed myself by taking some online classes and learning from books. Your page is absolutely delightful, and thanks for the video too!

  5. This is so inspiring. Right now I want to drop everything and do some watercolors.


If you are entering a GIVEAWAY, please add your email address in the event we need to contact you.

To avoid SPAM, please write it like this:

jessicasporndesigns (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank You!