As an Islamic geometry artist and educator, I’ve talked to hundreds of people. Some of you have just started out with Islamic art, while some of you are already experienced artists. Some of you tried a couple of times and then stopped forever. No matter who you are and what you do, I always see that there 3 common beliefs and misconceptions that are stopping you from being an artist.
If you feel you are not good enough, if it’s too frustrating to carry on, too paralyzing to deal with the feeling of failure or if the standard you have for yourself is too high to bear, then this blog post is for you.
ARE YOU A NATURAL?
The first thing stopping you from being an artist is the belief that you are not a natural.
I don’t know if this is a word that exists in the world, but here is what I mean by “natural”.
“Naturals” are people who learn easily, they are very talented, and whatever they do, it just looks great and effortless. People who are not naturals instead, have to roll up their sleeves and do double (maybe even triple?) the amount of work to get where they want.
I call those people hard workers. Not every hard worker is willing to do the hard work, but they have the choice.
Unfortunately, nowadays social media show us only the final outcome, the nice pictures and fake smiles. They have tricked us into thinking that everyone is a natural except us, and if you are not a “natural”, then you are a failure.
And this sometimes can be very overwhelming.
But I want to tell you a secret! The majority of successful people out there are not naturals.
Because what the majority of naturals do is take their talent for granted or rebel against the expectations of what other people say they should do. Being natural doesn’t mean ANYTHING if you are not willing to put in the hard work.
People who succeed in life are the ones who show up EVERY DAY, no matter what.
What if Elon Musk stopped launching his rackets in space just because the first launches went wrong?
What if Prophet Muhammad A.S. stopped talking about Islam only because his uncle made fun of him?
Or what if Martir Luther King stopped fighting for black people only because someone threatened to kill him?
Is it scary? Oh, hell yeah. Standing tall against our own prejudice about whether we deserve to be great or not it’s a task on its own.
Now, I get that our thoughts are our worst enemy. And this is why I have written “7 ways to overcome self-doubt as an artist” if you need some effective tools to deal with it. But first, keep reading this.
BEING A FAILURE VS. FAILING
The second thing stopping you from being an artist is confusing your sense of failure.
Every time something goes wrong, or we don’t like the outcome, we think “I am a failure”.
I am a failure because I couldn’t this.
I am a failure because I am not this.
I am, I am, I am….
Whatever happens, we immediately point the fingers at who we are.
I want you to think about your life and write down 10 times “I am a failure because…” and add why you felt that way.
- I am a failure because I have left my parents down.
- I am a failure because my drawings are not good enough.
- I am a failure because I can’t speak English.
And so on. Notice the heaviness in your chest, the fear, the anxiety.
Now I want you to stop and soak the next sentence deep in every cell of your body.
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE, YOU JUST FAILED AT SOMETHING.
Read that again.
You fail, you learn from your mistakes, and you come back to it. You fail again, you learn from your mistakes, and you still come back to it. You fail for 30 years in a row? You still learn from your mistakes and come back to it.
I PROMISE YOU, you will not be at the same point as you started.
Rewrite each of the 10 sentences starting with “I failed at…”
- I failed at satisfying my parents’ expectations.
- I failed at making my drawing good enough.
- I failed at speaking English.
Notice how detaching your being from doing makes things lighter and smaller.
Yes, you failed, and you will do better next time.
DO IT LIKE YOU ARE 80 YEARS OLD
The third thing stopping you from being an artist is the lack of motivation.
I was attending a self-development course one day, and the coach said something that really stuck with me. He said “Do you think that when I wake up in the morning, I want to come here and listen to all of you complaining and whining? Of course not. Every morning when I wake up, I read my “Why”. Why I am doing this. I am coaching because I want every human being to be free, loved and in peace. Every morning I remind myself what I want to create, and then I go and create it.”
I want you to visualize yourself being 80 years old. How would your life be, and how would you feel if you stood tall and kept going no matter what? What do you want to create in your life? Who do you want to be?
Write it on a piece of paper, tape it on the mirror and read it every morning.
You have to imagine yourself on the other side of the tunnel and then make it happen.
When I think of my life, I want to live in the countryside, have a garden, paint flowers on the walls of my house, and be surrounded by creative people who enrich my soul. And I want everyone to feel understood, free from their trauma and self-expressed.
This is why I keep training myself, keep creating, and keep writing blog posts that I hope are inspiring you to be brave.
I want to leave you with this motivational video by David Goggins.
David Goggins was a 300-pound black guy raised by a violent father who is now an ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, ex-Navy Seal and Guinness World Record breaker. I highly recommend his book “Can’t hurt me” if you are like me and read books written by great leaders.
3 beliefs and misconceptions stopping you from being an artist
July 10, 2023