challenging yourself…

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05/08/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

I am not sure that our natural man likes to be challenged. “Stretching” and “extending” tend to be uncomfortable words. Phrases like “pushing the boundaries” and “outside one’s comfort zone” give us the shivers. And, yet, it is in those places of discomfort that we grow the most. You’d think we would appreciate what is good for us…a bit like eating Brussels Sprouts really!

Just over one year ago I enthusiastically set myself a (rather large) challenge in Canvassing My Friends. So many times have I wanted to backpedal out of the experience that I could write a novel about my internal retractions! I have been time-crunched and tired and I feel that I am not getting any better artistically (do let me moan…have to get it off my chest to make room for some more of that “extending” to take place). So, what is it that keeps me motivated to continue in this seemingly silly quest?

  • I promised to finish.
  • I have told everyone I know (almost) about it. Quitting undermines (and even shatters) integrity and I would rather keep mine intact if at all possible!
  • I need to prove to myself that I am not a quitter. I have started and stopped so many things, all my life, that I am determined to see something through to the end.
  • Finishing gives a sense of achievement…something to tell your grandchildren about.
  • Finishing builds a positive reputation.
  • Speed isn’t the issue. Even the tortoise won the race in the end.
  • Mother must have been right when she said “practise makes perfect”. My skills HAVE to improve (please, please, please…).
  • Through the act of keeping going the results – yet unseen – could bless others in a way that I can’t see right now.
  • If I look past the tiredness, lack of time and cost, the process really is fun!

Here’s a closing word from Cate Prato, the online Editor of the e-newsletter Cloth Paper Scissors Today (a dose of mixed-media encouragement that I recommend you join up to receive!):

“You know, that’s what’s so great about a challenge. It makes you try new things. It pushes you beyond the limits of your comfort zone. Sometimes you find a new passion (I’m talking to you, encaustic), sometimes you get props just for trying (cough-jewelry-making-cough). Sometimes a challenge brings you back to the art you’re used to doing, but adds a new dimension.”

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Sarah Ritchie
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