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Knowing When You Know Enough

December 10, 2010

I remember the day I decided I’d read enough self-help books.  I felt like I was on overload, hearing the same messages over and over.  I decided that if so many people were writing about ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘thoughts are things’ than it must be true and I had better get my butt in gear and start practicing some of these basic principles to a healthy and happy life.  This thought process was cathartic and felt like the beginnings of myself becoming me.

Several years later I was revisited by a similar catharsis which was connected to my creative process.  I had spent years gathering knowledge about painting, exploring the creative process through reading books and magazines, taking classes and workshops from respected teachers and trying to implement techniques and processes that I had learned.  Then one day it hit me…’Carolynn, all you really need to do is paint’.  It came down to acknowledging when the research and study had given me enough tools in my ‘tool box’ to get on with it.  Releasing the fear to give it a try, to allow myself to respond to the “what if”…

I have a sneaking suspicion that most people never really get out of the ‘research’ stage.  They read and study to avoid doing, out of fear of where that might take them.  Spending time taking workshops and classes when it is no longer necessary, is a great distraction, a great crutch to support ones belief that they don’t have enough knowledge to do something ‘well’.  The trick is, if it is indeed a trick, is in knowing when you know enough to release your fears and get on with it.

This process can be likened to a science experiment...something I am familiar with from my life long ago.  A researcher studies, gathers knowledge, sets a proposal or an objective, implements a process, collects data, records results and then summarizes….how different is this from the painting process or developing healthy eating habits and exercise regime?  What is fearful in that you might ask?  Fear of change I say….what say you?

As it is for the researcher, revisiting prior studies or reading up on new ones is important for being on the top of your ‘game’.  This does not need to preclude one from ‘being in the game.’

"Old Hang-ups" Watercolour

Please feel free to comment on any of the postings.  I would appreciate any feed-back.

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