I had this crazy idea. I’ve been thinking about how people truly dedicate themselves to things that they struggle with. I guess this could apply to a lot of things in life – changing bad habits, adopting new habits, eating healthy food, exercising… And of course, productivity, whether it’s at work or at a pastime. Of course, you need a goal. You need to challenge yourself. And you have to start somewhere. I’m not one of those people who can start slow and work my way up to things. I have to go all out right away. This scares some people. Like my husband. But it’s just the way I am.
I want to make good beads. Better beads. Beads that excite me when I pull them out of the kiln. It seems obvious that the only way to improve at one’s craft is to log hours creating new things. In one of his books, Malcolm Gladwell (fantastic author) studied many people who are considered to be very, very talented at what they do. He estimated that in order to become a ‘master’ in their fields of work/study, they each logged at least 10,000 hours of practice. That’s a lot of hours. There is no substitute for practice. You can’t skip it. There is no easy route to success. Someone who makes beads every day is going to improve more quickly than someone who makes beads once a week. I’m in the once a week category at the moment, and I don’t want to be. But there are so many excuses to get around making beads regularly. Too tired, other stuff to do, don’t ‘feel’ like it… I know myself, and I know that if I give myself the *choice* of torching or not torching, I will tend toward not torching. There is also this weird kind of fear/hesitation that prevents me from starting most days. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Some days you spend a few hours at the torch and everything you make is crap. Often I worry that if I sit down to work I won’t be able to make anything ‘good’. So I don’t make anything at all.
This is dumb.
And so counterproductive. Of course anyone, at any skill level, will make a mix of things. Good and bad. But in order to have some success, you have to accept the inevitable failures. Ironically you usually learn more from the failures. They help you grow and change.
So I had this thought. I thought, if I eliminate the *choice* of whether I’m going to work or not, and I light the torch every day whether I feel like it or not, I will learn much faster. I will probably have more fun. I will worry less and create more. I’m going to attempt to do something insane (in my mind): I’m going to make a commitment to myself to make beads every day for 30 days. Every day. For at least one hour. If I’m frustrated and nothing is happening, I can quit, but I have to try. So far I’ve got one day in a row under my belt. I feel good about this. I could use more self-discipline in many aspects of my life. I think that feeling productive and disciplined with my work can’t help but spill over into the rest of my life.
Wish me luck.
I almost forgot: new beads on Etsy today. Click here to check ’em out.