This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns. With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of "working his dream". You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
I have just turned a milestone in my life. I have turned 40. I don’t know about you, and from which direction you are looking at this number, but this is probably the age that I actually remember my parents celebrating. Now, I look at my kids, experiencing me as their parent and being in those shoes that I have been in not so long ago... very weird feeling, growing up.
My wife had an extreme gift idea for me – she bought me a tandem sky dive. She was hinting, saying stuff like “I am going to throw you off an airplane” and the sort so I kind of prepared myself to something like that. A couple of weeks before my actual birth-date, she and my kids brought me my gift that morning (the receipt and some information about it), and she said that the day was today, I panicked for a few seconds. TODAY? I am not ready for this! I need time to prepare emotionally and psychologically. To tell myself I can do it, fight the resistance to run away, and maybe invent few excuses for why I can’t do it. But today? That’s not enough time at all!
All of that went through my head in the first half of these few seconds. Throughout the second half I was telling myself: This is better! Just dive in, do it without any thought, don’t fret, it will pass and be gone. Thousands of people are doing it every day and we don’t hear about any of them failing, or getting killed. You will be fine. Don’t worry and don’t stress about something that will be out of your control – at least by the time you jump out of the airplane!
And surprisingly enough, after those initial in-shock seconds, I was ready. Although the drive to the diving school took more than an hour and we had to wait another 5-6 hours before I could get up in the air (too many clouds, too much wind), in the end I did it! And I survived to tell the story. And I LOVED it. The initial split second that you have to jump (or be thrown out of the airplane with your tandem diver) was the scariest in this entire experience. But once you do, the amazing feeling of freedom, the air in your face and then the slower glide through the beautiful skies and amazing work-of-art under you called earth, is worth that split second.
Diving and landing again on solid ground, it took a couple of weeks for the adrenaline levels to go down (as well as my wife's hero status in our congregation for setting the bar so high for all other spouses), I was thinking about how I can apply this experience to my daily artist career. The first thought that stroked me was why was I was able to handle the fear and fight it so efficiently, while many of the fears I have in this emerging-artist business are so much harder to deal with? After all, painting and making art, my passion from the time I can remember myself, are the things I want to do and no one is forcing me to do them. Why fears such as not being good enough (self inflicted), or fearing criticism and rejection (a substantial fear, just see all my rejection letters from the past year alone) are working so strongly against me and holding me back to achieve my dream?
Thinking about it some more, the answer might be simple. At the end of the day, it is all up to me. No one is there in tandem to push me, hold my brushes and paint for me. I am the one responsible for that and it is all up to me. In addition, the future is unknown. I don’t see the ground from 10,500 feet and know it will come to an end. That future can be as fun and successful as I could imagine, but also, with the tricks of the mind, it can be a black hole with no end. The same is true for the time it will take to achieve it and so many of the unknowns.
So what should I do? Set achievable goals to see the ground and where I need to be. Then set some new goals. Ask for help, if not for holding my paintbrushes, but for other things like help with marketing or networking or accounting, or whatever it is that will help me get more painting time. And most importantly, tell myself: Yes, today I can do it. Not tomorrow, or in a week or two, but today! Last but not least, it won’t be so bad to remind myself that if I dived from 10,500 feet, I could probably do anything!
This inspired me and I must thank my dear wife for giving me this inspiration and believing in me. I hope it will inspire you, too. Tell us about your stories, conquering your fears, inspiring all of us to do the same.
PS Are you interested to see a video of my jumping off that airplane? I have uploaded it to my Facebook page, so all you have to do is Like my page (http://www.facebook.com/ArtistMosheMikanovsky), and look for it over there. Enjoy!