Because I’ve had many friends and companions over the years who were artists or simply big fans of art, I’ve often stood in front of a lot of canvases, sculptures, and mixed media pieces and heard someone say something along the lines of, “What’s the big deal? I could do that!” Saying things like this disappoint and anger me for a couple of reasons.
One: Just because it’s something you could do doesn’t invalidate someone else’s accomplishment.
Two: You could do it? OK, so do it.
I’m not a big fan of negativity. I indulge in it as much as anyone, especially when it comes to politics (I’m pretty goddamn angry about the current situation and trends in the US). But I do think it’s important for all of us to think about what kinds of relationships we want to have with the people around us (not just friends, families, and lovers, but acquaintances and strangers) and what kind of values we want to exemplify. Do you want to discourage people from being creative? Do you want to discourage people from working towards their dreams? If you’re annoyed or upset that someone has gotten recognition for something you feel you could do just as well or better, what are you really upset about–their accomplishment or your own inactivity?
Me? I want to be someone who encourages other people. I think people making art I don’t like is better than people not making art at all. People taking risks is better than people playing it safe. People playing and having fun with life is better than them trudging through their days as if life is a chore.
Let’s counter negativity by following Chris Guillebeau’s advice:
Embrace the WOW. When someone does something interesting, appreciate it for what it is. Stop judging or discounting their achievements. The world is full of people doing fun and incredible things. Keep your eyes wide and your mind open.
Focus on your own achievements. Set your own goals and spend your energy on something you build, create, or pursue. Can you walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls? Great. Go ahead and do it.
If you see me being overly negative, please call me on it. It’s sadly too easy to discount other people and focus too much on the negative. That’s not how I want to live. Let’s encourage each other to laugh, play, dream big, and take risks. Let’s set this world on fire with our desires and drown our sorrows with our tears of joy!