Good afternoon dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. A busy few days which involved shifting offices, in the rain on Monday & settling in, which always takes a few days to adjust. Otherwise, all is well in my world.
For just over ten years now, I have been publishing articles typically every weekend, posting them mainly late Saturday afternoon. Some days the words come easier than others, & there have been plenty of times when I have felt: “I thought this was a good article. Why don’t people seem to enjoy it?” Or, “I will feel like I wrote something average only to see it become the most popular post of the month.” Regardless of the outcome, I have realized one thing: we are often terrible judges of our own work.
Martha Graham’s advice takes this concept a step further by explaining, not only are you a bad judge of your own work, it is not your job to judge your own work. It is not your place to compare it to others. It is not your responsibility to figure out how valuable it is or how useful it can be. It is not your job to tell yourself, “No”. 1
Instead, your responsibility is to create. Your job is share what you have to offer from where you are right now. To quote Pema Chodron, the Buddhist teacher, your job is to “come as you are.”
There are people in nearly every field of work who make each day a work of art by the way they do their craft. In other words, nearly everyone is an artist in one way or another. And every artist will judge their work. The key is to not let your self-judgment keep you from doing your thing. 2 Even when it isn’t easy.
I remember a time at SBHS, my High School in Invercargill, when my teacher passing out an assignment, & telling each student to “keep your eyes on your own paper.”
Perhaps he was simply trying to teach us not to cheat, but hidden within the phrase is also a deeper message about what really matters. It does not make a difference what the person next to you writes down for his answer. This is your race to run. It is your assignment to complete. It is your answer to create. How your paper compares to anyone else is not the point. The point is to fill the paper with your work.
The same can be said of your work today. No matter what you spend your days doing, every morning you wake up & have a blank piece of paper to work with. You get to put your name at the top & fill it with your work.
If what you write on your paper does not meet someone else expectations, as Bill Wilson would say, it is no concern of yours. The way someone else perceives what you do is a result of their own experiences (which you cannot control); their own tastes & preferences (which you cannot predict); & their own expectations (which you do not set).
If your choices do not match their expectations this is their concern, not yours. Your concern is to do the work, not to judge it. Your concern is to fall in love with the process, 3 not to grade the outcome. So my friends, my thought for the week, is to ‘keep your eyes on your own paper’.
Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the week ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next weekend.