DO YOU EVER ASK: “Is what I’m doing GOOD ENOUGH?”
Well meaning people have a way of crushing our dreams, big and small. It starts with our parents, who lovingly “warn” us about not making a poor career choice. Then our teachers feel the need to save us from our “bad” decisions. And society, also groomed by these same beliefs to stay safe, criticizes us for being different or thinking in too strong of a unique way.
But as artists, we see the world differently. We are the people who invent new solutions and show visual representations to help the rest of the world see what we see. Bringing new ideas to life is not always welcome by others, and often is discouraged.
The strength to believe in yourself, when others don’t, is a powerful tool that leads directly to success in just about any field.
If you ever doubt your creative mind or your new ideas, or if other people doubt you, this story I’m about to share will shift everything for you.
When my husband Drew was starting out as an artist, he was discouraged by many people in his life. He had a vision of painting surfboards in a way that was different than anyone had ever seen; but the problem was, everyone criticized him for it.
After painting one of these “new” designs on a surfboard, one surfboard maker said to him “Drew, that’s the ugliest painting I’ve ever seen.”
It hurt, but Drew was stubborn and stuck to what he was driven to paint, despite feeling the criticism.
Fast forward twenty five years, and Drew’s unpopular painting techniques became the world’s standard for painting boards, and his painted surfboards are collected by A-list celebrities and musicians.
I’m going to share with you a blog post that Drew wrote on this topic, and I hope it will inspire you to continue to stay strong in your own ideas.
A young Artist asked for Drew’s advice on how to find her style. She wanted to know how Drew developed his own painting style. This was Drew’s answer to her:
“When I was young and trying to make a living as a surf artist and a surfboard painter, I painted a lot. Every day I produced new work.
I painted what I wanted to paint, even when other people didn’t like it.
I didn’t try to please anyone with my paintings. Many people didn’t get what I was doing. I thought they were nuts that they didn’t get it. (And they thought I was nuts.)
In the beginning, I tried to get people excited about the paintings I was doing, but most didn’t respond.
There was an entire world of people who didn’t respect or understand what I was doing. It wasn’t good enough for galleries or even surf shops at one point. I was turned down by almost every single surfboard maker in the early years, because they didn’t understand my art.
I was constantly rejected, but I didn’t stop doing it.
I felt insecure, but I didn’t let it stop me. I put my head down and just kept going. Creating what I was driven to create.
Then one day some people started to like what I was doing.
Eventually, more and more people liked it.
My style became popular, and now decades after all the rejection, people copy it all over the world.
My advice: Do what you want. Paint, draw, create a lot. Every day.
Create for yourself and see what develops.
Don’t do what other people do and don’t do what other people tell you to do, not unless you really want to. Be stubborn.
Don’t do things just because they have always been done that way. Do things your own way.
Do what draws you in and what keeps your interest the most. Don’t worry about other people’s opinions.
No matter what you do, someone is going to love it, and someone is going to hate it. Find the people who love it.
Experiment with a lot of things. Be patient. Let it develop. It may take months or years to find your style and it will constantly evolve and progress.
Just keep creating art.
I hope this helps all those people out there who aren’t sure if what they are doing is good enough. It is. Just keep doing it.
When you have a strong desire to create something new, and others don’t get it, don’t let that stop you.
It’s okay to feel disappointed that they don’t understand you, but don’t allow that feeling to prevent you from creating in a way that you are driven to do so.
We all want to be accepted and loved. Some of us have great insight into things, but we have to be patient and wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
Put your head down, keep doing what you believe in, and eventually, one by one, people will come around.
Have you experienced criticism, from yourself or others, for thinking differently?
Please, share in the comments below, your questions or thoughts on this. I would love to hear from you!