This post is for anyone who has ever been too scared to go after something they loved, because they felt like they might not be good enough. Spoiler alert: I’m going to try to convince you that you’re freaking awesome, so just go for it.
I am going to start off by just being completely honest. Before coming to college, I was absolutely, 100% terrified. The summer leading up to move in day was filled with breakdowns and meltdowns and every single kind of down a human being can possibly have. While all of my friends probably felt some version of this too, most of their worries revolved around the fear of leaving their hometown and starting fresh somewhere new. But for me, it wasn’t so much the moving part that I was scared of. I grew up in a military family, so I’ve moved around quite a few times and I like to think I have the whole “starting over” thing down by now. I was scared, because for the first time ever I was taking the leap to go after something that I loved and my brain wouldn’t stop repeating the horrifying thought, “you’re not good enough”.
Just about the worst thing you could possibly do to your self confidence is to compare your day one to someone else’s day one hundred. And this is a thing that I do quite often. Coming to school for art was just about the scariest thing in my mind, because I had this constant worrying scenario that everyone else was coming in with the skills of Leonardo da Vinci and they would make all of my drawings look no better than a stick figure. For my entire life, I avoided signing up for any art classes. Any paintings or drawings that I did were hidden inside my sketchbooks or under my bed. I didn’t want to pursue art, because I was afraid that everyone else was already so much better than I was and that I was too far behind and would never be able to catch up. But, looking back now, I can see just how confining this mentality really was and how much time I wasted thinking that I had run out of time.
If you love something, then don’t let anything hold you back. Dive right into it. Learn all there is to know about it. Practice it every day. Embrace what you love and go for it. Because why not? If you don’t try and you don’t continue practicing, then you’ll never get any better. If you don’t go after what makes your heart glow, then you’re wasting happiness. Don’t worry about what anyone else around you is doing and most certainly do not compare yourself to anyone else. The only comparing you should ever do is with who you are today and who you were when you started. There is always room to grow and to learn and we should always acknowledge how far we’ve come. You don’t need to develop master skills over night to feel proud of yourself. Small progress. Tiny victories. Little improvements are what you should be celebrating.
Just looking back at my figure drawing hand/feet studies from the first week (left) and this week (right) make me realize how practicing and drawing every day are slowly helping me improve. Of course I didn’t come to college with skills that even Michelangelo would envy, (and I’m certainly not there now) but that’s not the point of college. The point is to learn. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to grow and gain new skills and knowledge.
So here’s the good news: it’s never too late to pursue what you love. There’s no time restriction or limit or expiration date. Whether you’re 8 or 88, it’s always a good time to begin. So what’s stopping you?