Be Playful

Posts Tagged ‘passion

paint-hands
Photo by Umair Mohsin.

I am a perfectionist. Whilst this means that when I do something I do it to the best of my ability, it also means that I’m often afraid to start on projects for fear of not being able to complete them to perfection.

For me, a big part of engaging with my playful side has been learning to get my hands dirty, to stop worrying whether or not a project I am working on will end up completely perfect.

When children are at play, they are so completely present in the world that they don’t notice if they’re getting mucky or making a mess. I’m trying to learn to be like this too.

Since I started being willing to get my hands dirty, I’ve been learning a few things.

Children learn by doing and trying

Have you ever watched a young child learning to walk? He or she will take one or two steps before toppling over. Next time it might be three steps, then four. Then back to two steps. The child doesn’t see falling over as a failure, but delights in the success of having tried to walk.

Seek out passions that absorb you

I’ve found that I’m least afraid of failure when I’m doing something I love because I become so absorbed in completing the task. This is known as the creative state of flow.

I’ve also found that even when doing things I love, it’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s a matter of making a choice to start a project that I’m dreading, then once I’ve started, I suddenly realise how much I’m enjoying it.

If you’re still looking for something you love doing, a great idea is to try different things. You may find it helpful to make a list of all the things you’ve enjoyed doing in the past, and all the things that you’ve dreamed about doing but not yet got round to. Commit to doing at least two of those things within the next week.

Pursue your dreams and learn on the way

It’s been a difficult lesson to learn, but my dreams haven’t stumbled into my lap. I’ve had to chase them down, making mistakes and learning on the way.

In the past, I used to make a lot of excuses to myself for not starting a writing career. ‘I’m too young’; ‘I’m still studying’; ‘I’ve no idea what to write about’; ‘I’ll start when I’ve got the right experience’. Looking back, I think all my excuses were just covers for my fear of failure.

I’m slowly learning to look beyond my fears of failure and focus on my dreams. It’s a difficult journey, but it’s also an adventure.

Massive Action

The most important thing I’ve learnt through being willing to get my hands dirty is how much further action gets you than inaction.

It seems obvious now, but I think I always used to see my dreams as being ‘in the future’ and just somehow thought they’d happen. I’m very grateful for the blogs and self-development books that have taught me the importance of massive action; if I had done nothing to change my situation, I am sure that I would have stayed stuck where I was.

If you have a dream, but you’re not sure how to get there, one of the most helpful things you can do is to find out how other people got there. There will almost always have been a stroke of luck somewhere along the way, but they were in the right place at the right time to get that luck. Find out where the right places are for you to be, and commit to the actions that will get you there.

Now, go and get your hands dirty!

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