Carving of face above NY brownstone window, photo taken by Joana Miranda

Another week in the Empire Building Kit has gone by…only 9 more to go!  One of the topics touched upon this week was the idea of being open to learning from many different sources.  Chris Guillebeau, the Empire Building Kit’s author, admits that he’s bought a lot of information products but  hasn’t necessarily always followed through with each, or read them in their entirety.  More important to him, is to glean a spark or idea that will help him shift his thinking and always move a little bit forward.

I believe that it’s possible to learn from just about anyone and from almost every experience.  I’ve also found that if you are ready to be taught, a teacher often appears.  Of course, being vulnerable to admit that you don’t know something isn’t always easy.  Seeking help takes a great deal of strength and belief in yourself, as well as much humility.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a risk and sent some of my drawings to a very successful NY artist acquaintance of mine.  I was secretly hoping for a little praise along with some helpful advice, but received only blunt criticism.  I took the criticism to heart and tried to make the changes being suggested.  Again, I received more blunt criticism.  Last week my artist friend and I got together and I listened and watched as he pointed out the flaws in my work and demonstrated techniques on a drawing pad.  He sent me home with two bags full of wonderful books, magazines, and clippings he had collected for me.  Imagine my delight when my next attempt was met with “Sooooo much better!” from him.

I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve already gained valuable insights, and, even better, a wonderful friend.

Remember, sometimes the gate keepers are only too happy to drop keys for you!


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