I'm a big believer in failing...
If there's one thing I know how to do, it's how to fail. Like many others, I've had my fair share of struggles and failures, especially through my high school and college years. In these failings, I've come across frustration. I wouldn't say that I am a perfectionist. I would say that I am a completionist. Not when it comes to books or TV shows or video games, but when it comes to projects. In a previous post, I wrote about my assortment of hobbies that I enjoy outside of my school and work. In these hobbies, I often can get frustrated by the fact that I'll start a project that I am really excited about and then have to put it aside because life and school and work get in the way. Time passes and before I know it, it's been months since I began and the project hasn't advanced at all. In the past, this feeling of incompletion made me feel like I was more of an amateur; unskilled in my various hobbies because I couldn't finish a project. To this effect, I like the article "A Simple 5-Second Habit to Rewire Your Harshly Self-Critical Brain" by Joel Almeida wherein he gives advice pertaining to staying on track and not criticizing oneself for the occasional setback. I think setbacks in any project or goal are inevitable and it does get hard when one is constantly self-criticizing because of them. Even when it comes to my hobbies, things that I find enjoyable the vast majority of the time, self-criticism is still a monster that has to be tamed. Facing a setback, acknowledging it, and then relegating it to be nothing more than a minor stumbling block and congratulating oneself on getting back on track could be a solid strategy.
On the track of stumbling blocks and failures, the quotes from Neil Gaiman in this article also help in understanding and accepting the nature of mistakes and failures. I'm a big believer, like Gaiman, in the awesome power of mistakes. They are the avenue through which we learn and, especially when it comes to my hobbies, I love to make them. Gaiman's other quote in the article is perhaps a little less relevant to what I do than for some others. I don't really consider myself a great artist, though sometimes I make the attempt. But the underlying message of creating, always creating, even when life throws terrible things at you, just keep creating, is a message that I can get behind. I like to think that one skill that I have mastered is the ability to let things go. To not hold on to the bad things that might happen in my life and to just move on and keep creating. I think the most powerful feedback you can receive is the one that you give yourself. The one that tells you that you're doing good by just continuing forward and living your life.
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