Sketching

No Pain, More Gain

“No pain, no gain,” they say. They are wrong. You can gain many things easily and with pleasure, like weight, for example, while having birthday cakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What can be hard is losing all that you gained.

I know, I am not supposed to read this saying this way, but I was tempted. A birthday cake’s on my mind.

Speaking seriously, I don’t believe in pain as the major means to achieve your goals. Yes, you have to work towards them, yes, you have to make some efforts, but all these efforts don’t have to be a torture. Unless you are a masochist and torture is a pleasure for you, then yes, go ahead. If you are mentally healthy, well, more or less, your work must be seasoned with love, curiosity and fun.

I like what Jerry Seinfeld said in one of his interviews. “Your blessing in life is when you find the torture you’re comfortable with.” By torture Seinfeld meant the creative struggle he has to deal with when writing new jokes. Being funny is not an easy task, but he sticks to it because he loves it and knows he can do it.

Yes, you will have some difficulties to overcome and some problems to solve on your way, but stick to what brings you joy, and the pain won’t matter and, with time, will probably disappear completely. The power of habit forces the pain out. Anyone’s experience with physical exercises proves it. The more you work out the easier it gets. The most difficult part is always to start, and most of us don’t ever start at all for fear of pain that seems to be unavoidable. But it will go away when you become stronger as a result of everyday practicing.

I picked up a bit of advice from Scott Adams, the Dilbert’s creator, who recommends starting slowly, the way that tomorrow you won’t regret about yesterday’s training your body. I think this simple rule can be applied to any area of human activity. Don’t set gigantic goals right away and don’t expect immediate results. Walk slowly and you will arrive safely and painlessly. Big expectations bring big disappointments, so don’t have them. Make small steps and enjoy each of them. The speed can be increased along the road when you feel you are ready.

My conclusion is simple, “No pain, more gain.”

 

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Sketching

Trick the Bear

It’s a big world out there, and it’s scary. I know, I’m supposed to say it’s a wonderful world, I should probably sing it with a familiar and charming hoarseness, but I’d rather not, at least not today.

Everything big is scary because it looks stronger than you and you know it can crush you, break you or make you disappear. Whatever IT is it can do it, just because it’s bigger.

Being idiotically optimistic from birth, I believe that the world doesn’t really want to hurt me, but still, just in case, I look for escape routes and wonder if there is a dodge one can use when feeling particularly small and weak. An old story from nineteenth century comes to mind. It taught how to deal with a bear if you were unlucky enough to meet one in the forest.

There are two ways to avoid unpleasant results of this awkward acquaintance. First is to lie quietly on the ground trying not to breathe and pretending dead: bears have no appetite for the rotten flesh. You have to be a really good actor for this, I’m afraid, or quite a phlegmatic person for the bear might have a wish to sniff you before leaving for another date.

The other trick sounds a bit funnier but also requires some guts. You need to stand up on your tiptoe and lift your arms as high as possible so the bear thinks you are bigger than him. Bears are just like us; they respect the size and are afraid of anything that is bigger than them. Again, some acting skills would be useful. If you’re an experienced showoff it also might help.

Now, if you think of the world as a very big bear you can use one of those tricks and play dead or play giant to convince it that you are not as small as it seems. Make your choice and use the trick, you will need it. It’s a big world out there, and it’s waiting for ya. I think I’d risk to go for the show-off competition. It seems to be more exciting this way.

 

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Sketching

Playing the Scared Ostrich

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I read somewhere that the worst thing you can do in life is to lie to yourself. When you lie to someone else it’s probably not the best thing, but often it’s rather controversial than really bad.

There are so many situations when we use a lie to avoid painful or uncomfortable issues. We lie not only to defend ourselves when we are wrong; most of all we lie when we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. If a friend of yours asks if he or she gained weight and you can see, yes, he or she did, you say, “No, I haven’t noticed anything like that“. You lie because you know that the spoken truth won’t change anything, your friend won’t become thinner but only will feel hurt.

When you lie to yourself it’s a different story even though you want the same, you want to avoid unpleasant situations, you want to run from truth that causes your pain. But as a result you harm yourself closing the window that shows the whole picture, that reveals things the way they are. And when you are blind like this how can you find the means to fix anything that makes you unhappy?

We all sometimes behave like an ostrich hiding its head in the sand, even though we know that things that scare us won’t go away just because we closed our eyes.

I see people playing this ostrich game all the time. Mostly they are afraid to see that their problems are results of their own actions and they keep blaming the others and making the same mistakes over and over again. This is a vicious circle where you can get stuck forever.

I’ve been there myself, in the spot where I blamed the whole world for my own stupidity. And nobody helped me out, nobody could tell me the truth as people who love you lie to you, this is how they take care of you, they don’t want to hurt you. That is why you can’t lie to yourself.

It can be painful, of course, to see the truth, but recognizing your mistakes will make you learn and avoid them in the future. You are the one to have your eyes open if you don’t want to spend all your life hiding your head in the sand and holding your ass high up in the air. It must be the other way around even if it’s not an easy thing to do.

 

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Sketching

Fearful Hero

Fear is a natural instinct that helps us to survive. It prevents us from crossing the road in front of a speeding bus. It keeps us away from an open window on the eighteenth floor. It pushes us to defend our life in case someone threatens to take it. So it’s good to let fear flow through your veins. Some people get addictive to this kind of fear and jump off the bridges, buildings and planes in order to feel the adrenalin explosion again and again.

But the same fear keeps us in prison if we let it into our heart. Fear of failure, rejection, disapproval, fear of not being loved, fear of being laughed at. This fear makes us slaves of someone else’s opinion. For this fear we deny ourselves. We don’t express our thoughts, wishes and hopes. We refuse to follow our dreams. We sit in the cage trembling, in the cage we locked ourselves.

Can we be free from this fear? Some say we can. Some teach how. Some tell they learnt it. As for me, I’ve never met anyone who would tell me, “I’m not afraid”. But I’ve met some people who, being scared, frightened, horrified, pushed their fear aside and did what they were afraid of. I admire those people. I see them as heroes. And I believe they would never be as strong as they are if they didn’t have any fear to overstep. Fear can be your fuel. Fear can be your compass. Fear can help you to move forward. So my belief is let it be. Live with it, but don’t let it enslave you. Be a fearful hero.

 

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Sketching, Writing 101

The Deepest Fear

Black Square by Kazimir Malevich

I’m afraid not to have my dreams.

I have seen many people, some close friends included, who left their dreams behind, who decided to let them go.

I am frightened to witness their lives, with the black hole of meaningless future in front of them. With the present that consist of mere complains. With the past which is only a memory of pain. I’m afraid of all those who forgot the word ‘perspective’.

I avoid to look into their eyes with nothing in there, but fear, fear of emptiness that comes from inside.

I am horrified I can be like this. So I follow my dreams.

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