12 Things, 12 Times, 12 Months. To challenge yourself is to defy your limitations.
I enjoy many things. Architecture, sculpture, filmmaking, photography, drawing, painting, writing, dating. Often, though, I question either my legitimacy in doing these things or whether I am spreading myself too thin in their collective execution, thus diminishing the potential value of these respective crafts. I’ve thought about this for years and I’ve come to two different, although not necessarily opposite, conclusions. First, we as human beings (not to mention human beings in this very generation, given our advances in things like technology and globalization) are capable of doing far more than we give ourselves credit for. Similarly, we are, to an equal degree, quite limited in the amount of endeavors we are able to undertake. I has this experience recently where I was at a Chick-Fil-A. I ordered the chicken sandwich meal (entree)...and chicken fingers...and a shake. Perhaps it’s a lack of organization that reveals these limitations to an awkwardly noticeable degree. Or maybe
Likewise, there are many things I do not enjoy doing as much. Cooking would be one of these things. Now, cooking is an artform of sorts. I spent a year learning under a five star chef in the northeast, and I not only learned some practical things
I believe we are the most privileged society to have ever lived. Technology provides us fortunes we might have never received otherwise (which also might be a good thing). Modern medicine increases our years of
gave a TED talk in 2011,
I recently tried to look for a number which might indicate how long it takes to learn to do something well. This kind of thing seems to be too subjective to simply narrow down to a number of hours or days or weeks, at least in my brain. I’ve heard that 10,000 hours is the number it takes to become good at something (or become a ‘professional).
o I’ve decided to just pick an artform and complete that specific work of art (if we should call it that) 10 times over a 10 week period. The first time will probably not be so wonderful, but hopefully by the tenth time I will be able to see some margin of improvement. I will also be able to tell how much I really enjoy doing that thing compared to how much I’ve romanticized about it. Conversely, (and what good endeavor is exciting to the masses that has no diversity, or adversity, rather), I’ve also chosen a few things in here that I know for a fact I’m not particularly good at, but am going to execute for the very same reason.
Even further, as I will soon post to my blog about, I’ve always been concerned with displaying work (some would say showing off) to an audience. If someone asks to see what I’m doing, I am always happy to explain. But, I think like any good work of art, it must speak for itself. But the work can’t speak if there is no one willing to listen to it. That being said, I have been thinking too about how to appropriately display the work in a way that is tactful and direct, but not abrasive and demanding of too much attention. I would want it to operate more like a whisper or a hint, and if there is interest, people can look and listen. If not, they don’t have to. But lately I’ve also been thinking how I can use social media in a more positive way then just spurts of randomness, either in photo or written status updates and tweets. Maybe I can utilize Instagram in a way that shows the work I’m working on, week by week, with a thoughtful description under each photo, and then, when viewed in grid form, one could cleanly see the progression of thought and work being executed. This, of course, can be carried into Facebook and Twitter as more happens.
My hope for the 2 year exercise is to allow myself to stretch the extent of my artistic capabilities and challenge myself in many artistic realms. When I thought about undertaking an assignment like this at first, my only real goal was to do what I knew how to do, and figure out how to do it better. As easy as that sounded, it also sounded boring. I think the greatest parameter I could place on myself is to challenge myself. Certainly the parameters themselves are challenging, but different parameters imply a greater degree of adventure and exploration.
Further, there are two things, equal and opposite, that