It's taken a lot of trial and error to discover myself and my talents, and things have changed so much since I first started out. At first I was embarrassed by my constant changing this and that, updating the look of my website and going in circles with my art. For some reason I told myself that I have to get it right first try, and if I don't I'm a failure. Curse your failings, you miserable worm! You are no artist, but a fraud! A scammer! A buffoon! Well, maybe that last one is a little more accurate, but now i realize that these kinds of mistakes and changes are exactly what is supposed to happen.
Humans have very weird and wonderful ways of doing things, and one of the more notable evolutionary traits we try and avoid is learning through mistakes. A lot of the time we try and cover up our mistakes, as they seem to us to be something we should be ashamed of, or that we should feel bad for doing things wrong. This is a complete fabrication, a lie we tell ourselves to make us feel bad. Boy, do we love to beat ourselves up for stuff. That imaginary council in our head whom we seek comfort from will always chastise us and tell us that making mistakes is not allowed. Shame on us, for getting it wrong!
I listened to that council for a long time and beat myself up for a lot of the things that didn't quite turn out right. Then I had one of those light bulb moments where clarity hits you with the force of an oncoming truck, after trying so hard to get your attention. The light bulb spoke to me in almost child-like defiance - "Why is it bad to be wrong, when you didn't know it was wrong before you started?" - BOOM. Epiphany.
When we start out on these adventures, trials and day to day activities that fill our lives, we have no idea how they will turn out beforehand. No magic 8 ball can explain to us that this is a bad idea, the wrong decision, or a horribly poor investment. Nope, all we have is a little courage, a small hope, and a desire to try something out. And these things are in such short supply, that the slightest misdirection can drain them from the tank, and leave us stranded in uncertainty. It's a horrible place where the only thing to do is whittle yourself a mask of false assurance to hide behind, or perhaps play solitaire.
So when this spark of rebellious boldness hit me while I was busy cowering in self pity halfway through a tub of Rocky Road, it was like a lifeline straight to the confidence highway.
We learn the best lessons through our mistakes. Trial and error. We are built to figure things out through practical exploration, and rather than chastise ourselves for doing it wrong, we should congratulate ourselves for trying it out. The greatest hurdle I always have to overcome when trying a new idea is the fear of getting it wrong. And that council tell me "Well Seth, you should be terrified of the consequences of this not turning out. Look at how bad things would be if this were to go sideways! Best leave it alone and never even try. Yup, sounds like that's what you should definitely do."
Well, what are those consequences, when you really think about? Most of the time, it's a little energy, time, materials used, then you're right back to the start. It's just a predisposition for our minds to create fear, which creates caution. And this is a good thing. Caution is good, and can often save us from something really, really stupid. But if we can find the courage and confidence to try out new ideas, get things wrong, and try again, then not only will we have the power to become superheroes, but we'll also exercise and tone that inner instinct to guide us, rather than terrorize us.
For me, that inner instinct is helping me build a brand and work my way into becoming the professional I've always wanted to be. So yes, my website will change dramatically, my artwork will evolve and mistakes will always be made. And I am happy with this, as long as I can learn a lesson and mark a place on the map that points me in the right direction. But what will it mean for you? Trying a new hobby, talking to a stranger, taking over a small country? Trust me, when you stop telling yourself off and being afraid to make mistakes, the lessons you learn are invaluable.
So if you notice that every time you visit my site or see my work is a little bit different, it's because I'm learning, growing, and trying things out. And you should do it too.
*Thanks to feainne-stock for the image