Challenge Accepted

I probably shouldn’t be sharing this, but, this is the first time I’ve drawn anything in years. Years! (Well, aside from doodles when I’m bored or trying to entertain Ollie at church.) Today, something weird clicked in my head and I was determined to get all the art-things, and then I tried to draw Rain—a character from my books—with charcoal.

So, I know I’m no Van Gogh. But that’s okay. I like to draw. I’ve always liked to draw, but I quit because I was told I wasn’t good. I tried to get back at it seven years ago, but I quit because I decided… I wasn’t any good.

Isn’t it interesting how we do that? How we let the opinions of others determine our fate—how we let them become prophecies of failure? Not because they were right, but because we decided they were right, and chose to shut down doing what we love, never looking at things from a different angle. Like, there are some famous works of art that I think are awful and make me angry just looking at them. Thank goodness those artists never listened to people like me. Besides, even if they were right, why quit doing something you love so much? Say instead, “Challenge accepted,” and keep moving forward, perfecting your talent, letting yourself grow.

Learning new skills is really good for the brain. It actually creates new neural pathways and keeps diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay. That’s why you have to practice a song or skill over and over and over before you really perfect it. You’re literally building new neural highways through your body. That takes time. Be patient with it.

So that painting class you always wanted to take but never dared to? Do it! You always wanted to learn how to sculpt or play an instrument or sew or build things out of wood? Go for it! Don’t hesitate.

We’ve heard this saying over and over to the point where it’s lost almost all meaning, but: life is short. And the truth is… it really is. It flies by like a dream. It’s too short to not do the things that bring us joy. When you step back and gaze at the whole picture, you can begin to see how some things—like negative opinions—just don’t matter. What matters is living a life full of things that bring you joy.