This morning's painting is not one of my favorites. I don't dislike it but I don't really like it either. Strangely though, this painting had me thinking more than any other I've done. I'm guessing it's because the subject is circles and I don't need to think about circles to paint them. Instead my mind could wander to other parts of the process. I painted some circles and then I let them dry. I painted more circles, mostly overlapping the previous layer. I let the second layer dry and then did a third layer. Finally I came in with the light blue and added the line work and then the lettering.
As I waited for the layers to dry, I thought about patience. When I took watercolor in college, it would have drove me nuts to sit there and wait for paint to dry. I remember students who brought hair dryers to class so they could dry their paintings faster. Patient was not a word I would have used to describe myself or most of my classmates. Now, fifteen years after that beginning watercolor class, I would say I finally have some patience.
This reminded me of something I heard from James Clear on the podcast Unmistakable Creative. He was talking about "identity-based habits." He gave the example of someone who wants to lose weight yet they don't picture themselves as someone who works out. He says:
"The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously). To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself."
He goes on to say...
Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps. 1. Decide the type of person you want to be. 2. Prove it to yourself with small wins. - James Clear, Identity-based Habits
I never intentionally set out to become more patient but it did take lots of little moments (small wins) of exercising patience to prove to myself that I can be. Clear says that instead of focusing on larger, performance-based goals you should start by asking yourself what type of person would do this? Then work to become that type of person. I have this goal of creating something every single day this year. What type of person could accomplish that? Someone who is diligent and patient. I knew I could be a diligent worker but patient? I had to prove that to myself. Now 136 days into this project, I believe that I can do this.
What beliefs about yourself are holding you back? Decide the type of person you want to be. Begin today by proving it to yourself in a some small way.