How do you get good at something?
In the recent years I’ve noticed a lot of poorly done work (including some of mine) coming out. Photography, writing (mine), public speaking (sometimes me) and so on need to be either classified as “good” or “bad”. With the recent advent of social media though, and in a world full of praise, we’ve left black and white for fifty shades of grey on what’s considered acceptable output.
When I first started out I was the same way. Sucked in by the generous praise of friends I thought I was tops. I even deluded myself into selling cards and postcards in trendy local stores. My theory is that they sold simply because all the profits went to the food bank NOT because they were stellar pieces of art. I also had some pictures published in magazines and won a few contests here and there, but again, nothing that screamed “incredible”.
And then there was writing for the local online newspaper in my city “The Edmontonian”. While it was a great deal of fun for me to write, I’m sure my editors were wondering who had banged out the chicken scratch that was being sent in.
Yes, it seems like I’ve built my empire on mediocrity along with many others.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. Maybe when you first start out, yes you need a bit of praise to build your confidence, and with confidence you’ll have the drive to go forward and (hopefully) improve. If not, then sorry.
Here are a few tips and tricks that I found helped for me over the last few years and how I went from sucking to a little bit (above) average.
1. Read, study, go out and practice and then repeat. If you are completely passionate about something , it will be your life. If you really want it, you’ll keep trying.
2. Don’t listen to your friends when they say nice things. Ok listen, but also ask for criticism as well and don’t be afraid. The best stuff is not sugar coated
3. Be humble. Good things, or bad things, take it politely and quietly. You can tell your mom, but you don’t need to shout it to the world. Remember that you’re great only in that certain capacity.
4. Be kind to others whose work may just be starting out. Mentor and help them.
And above all, do it for yourself and yourself only. If no one says anything at the end of days says anything, take heart. Most people didn’t become famous until after they died, so you still have a long way to go.
Until next time,