Recently I was on a train in the UK with my young son, traveling back to London from sightseeing for the day. At one of the stops, a rather eccentric looking middle-aged fellow got on, and sat down across the table from us. He appeared to be deeply engrossed with his phone, so I didn’t think he was paying attention to our conversation…. Which was oddly about how to make a yo-yo out of a water bottle. My son has an inborn need to create, and build, and not just occasionally, but EVERY day he is constantly thinking about how to do this or that, and we have very interesting conversations about how something might actually be constructed. This also causes an interesting assortment of items to be collected in his room……
What caused the man across the table to look at me in horror was the following statement:
“Not everything is worthwhile trying to make, only make worthwhile things, things of value. There is only so much time in every day, if you make something, that uses up time that you could have used for another project. Don’t waste your time making things that aren’t worthwhile. ”
The man looked up in horrified surprise, and probably thought I was squelching my son’s curiosity and innate desire to explore… and I honestly thought he was going to start discussing this with me….
But really I am trying to teach him the lesson early on, that I’ve had to learn the hard way: Not every project is worth the time that it will take to complete.
Any project you chose, then directs where you are going to travel next in your artistic growth. The time you spend on this project, will take up time that could have been used on another project. BUT! Please do not let this entrap you into never actually settling down to do anything, rather chose a project by thinking things through:
- Where do I want to head creatively?
- Will this get me in that direction?
- Do I love this project?
If any of those answers are NO, think seriously about whether you should take it on. For the NO answers, think about things that could make them into YES. Can you change the project in a way that would promote the growth, travel and enjoyment that you are seeking?
Life is short, use your hours and your days wisely, you never know how many you will actually have.
Read this article, How to Say No to Things You Want to Do, for further insight and ideas. It’s an important lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way, and I hope you learn it faster than I have.