13 April 2017
I recently saw a photo of a seemingly empty storefront with the following statement lettered on the sign above it:
What do you do?
What could you do?
What's stopping you?
These are questions I started asking myself daily. Most often they come out when I'm faced with a challenge. And it could be any manner of challenge from garden planning, or a knitting project I want to take on to the book I've been writing for longer than I'm willing to admit now. Answering those questions is a much deeper challenge than actually moving forward with the act of taking on the projects however, for the act of *doing* requires much less energy than the countless hours spent analyzing the questions. But let's look at the questions, at least for a moment.
What do I do? I sit here staring at this pattern, thinking about how many new-to-me stitches there are in it and I wonder whether I will struggle with learning or figuring them out. I wonder whether I will have to ask someone more experienced than me for help, or search for a video that will assist me. I wonder whether I will screw up and have to start over. Or worse; what if I screw up and it's so far into the project that backing out a row or two (or three *gasp*!) is a better option than starting over (because all knitters know how much fun backing out is). And then there's the wondering if I will feel like a failure and hate myself for not being able to do it.
What could I do? I could read through the pattern, gather the materials needed and just begin the project. I could tackle each part of it as it comes. If I run into a stitch I have never done before, I can search the vast amount of assistance available on the web and in the more experienced friends and community I have. I could remind myself of the projects I've tackled up to this point, the challenges that I've surpassed, and the skills and experienced I've gained by completing each one. Or the shorter version: I could just figure out what needs to be done and do it.
What's stopping me? Fear. Always fear. But I always find if I ignore the fear, push past it and just skip to the second question, it's always much simpler a task than I ever feared it would be during the process of asking the questions. And the payoff is better. Certainly easier with creative projects than matters of the heart, but the end result is usually the same.
I've found that these lessons learned in knitting often become quite handy in real life situations. We so often cause ourselves more frustration by agonizing over the what if's than we would if we just move forward in some way. The challenges will come and be dealt with and moved on from. And they will leave behind them gained wisdom. The more time spent thinking that we aren't capable of something, the more chance we have of convincing ourselves we aren't capable. Sometimes it's better just to trust that we are, indeed capable.
This doesn't mean that we should make decisions without thinking, or weighing the options, but if we start asking ourselves these three simple questions, perhaps we'll find there is much more we can do.
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