So yes, the #100dayproject_letspaint has come to an end. I have done a 100 day project twice in my life now – successfully both times and I certainly have learned a lot from this experience. The first time I did a 100 day project it was about practicing gratitude and counting my blessings as I was going through a rough time in my life. It was an eye-opening experience for me and it helped me manifest who I did and didn’t want to be in the world. This time as you might already know it was about unapologetic painting. Both of the times I got to experiment with it and at this point, I feel like I have lots to share with you that will help you make the most of it if you ever consider taking a part in one yourself. Even if you don’t plan to ever take part in one, reading about my experience might shift that for you or maybe not. It totally depends on how you feel about making such big of a commitment with yourself (and your art).
Less pressure and more doing
I am one of those people who struggle with the need to get things just perfect. Signing myself up for a 100 day project is the perfect antidote to that obsessive-compulsive behaviour to make things perfect. Committing yourself to keep showing up for a 100 days straight is a h.u.g.e thing but somehow that same commitment forces you to keep doing good enough work and keep showing up day after day which means less pressure and more doing for recovering perfectionists like myself. You no longer wait for your work to get perfect before you even think about sharing instead you keep on working with less pressure of getting it perfect but more pressure of fulfilling your promise and sharing something by the end of the day which means you get to experiment more. I’m not downplaying the pressure of such a daily commitment here. I get that. But that, in my opinion, is helpful instead of paralyzing. It allows you to give yourself permission to experiment more.
Helps you figure out your natural tendencies and motivations to keep doing what you want to be doing
Have you heard about the four tendencies? Gretchen Rubin’s work on tendencies is phenomenal at least it was for me when it comes to self-discovery. I highly recommend taking the four tendencies quiz to figure out how you respond to expectations, inner and outer. Understanding your core tendencies can help make this 100 day project of yours a success.
For instance, I’m a rebel. According to the result of quiz, ‘Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They choose to act from a sense of choice, of freedom. Rebels wake up and think, “What do I want to do today?’
This is exactly what I usually do. I wake up every morning and ask myself what do I feel like doing today. Instead of beating myself over the fact that I’m not one of those normal people I have understood and accepted this is how I’m wired. I know now, this is normal too. I’m not alone. I might be the weird one in the crowd but hey, I have a little club of my own too and we call ourselves rebels and we do the things in the way that feels right for us and not worry about the shoulds.
This understanding led me to design my days exactly like that. I woke up every morning and asked myself what did I feel like painting today and did exactly that. To be honest, announcing my project over on Instagram and having people follow my journey, sharing their thoughts, love and comments also became one of my core motivations to keep showing up which brings me to my next point.
You and everyone else holds you accountable
I was able to hold myself accountable. I had an army of people rooting for me and getting inspired by as well. I kept getting messages almost every other day about how they were excited to see me and my work grow with time. I had cheerleaders cheering me on every step of the way. This is by far the main reason why I decided to do this #100dayproject of unapologetic painting publically. It can be scary to share your ‘work in progress’ with the world when we are raised and taught to always be the best/ expert in what we do and nothing less is acceptable. I can only say about my own experience and the experience of amazing creatives I have got in touch with ever since I started offering mentoring. I learned how we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the expert and know-it-all and have all the right qualifications to be considered as a legitimate artist. But here it was like everyone who knew about this, I found them rooting for me and sharing how they are proud and inspired by my conviction.
It really is about trusting the process
You learn to trust the process more and more. There is something about committing to a process that not only makes you fall in love with the process itself but also to have fun while you are at it. You develop a sense of enjoyment from creating more than the final outcome. This is something the perfectionists like myself struggle with. It is hard to not think about the final outcome and not guide your every single move accordingly to get those perfect results. This commitment makes you trust the process more and helps you in recovering from becoming a control freak.
The power of rituals and routines
We have all read and heard about the power in building routines and rituals. Going through a 100 day project teaches you that first hand. You get to experience that power that comes from building a routine around practicing your art & craft. It teaches you discipline.
A way to practice self-compassion
There will be days when you won’t feel like it and this will serve as a perfect opportunity to rather be gentle and practice self-compassion on moments like those. You’ll also learn to give yourself permission to go against the grain. You’ll learn that it is okay to take a day off if that’s something you really are in need of. This process of indulging yourself in a 100 day long commitment allows you to hold space for bursts of inspiration kind of days as well as gloomy and uninspiring days which are an inevitable part of the process.
It is about making the most of your time and gaining mastery by practice
The downside of modern society is that we never have enough time in our hands to do the things we really want to be doing and to learn the skills we really want to be learning not for any expectation of earning a profit from them in the future but learning just for the heck of it – you want to learn how to play the piano just because. A 100 day project is the perfect way to make yourself learn a new skill like that – become better at something quicker as learning something new not only requires you to make time for it but also to practice it and put in the hours. Also, it gets easier and easier with each passing day as you proceed with your project.
Less thinking and more output – an antidote to procrastination
This one is quite similar to the first point. It pushes you to do something, anything and show up day after day. This way the procrastinator can’t really stay there for long. It has to leave and make room for some good enough work and that’s exactly what we are rooting for.
Creating instead of consuming
Passively consuming is also a form of procrastination so I guess the point I’m trying to make here is you get into action from passive action to active action. You consume less and create more. Watching how-to videos on YouTube or Skillshare isn’t something that makes you good at something. You become better only when you try doing that yourself. I’m myself guilty of doing just that. Watching countless hours of tutorials and not trying things on my own. If I’m really honest, for me watching tutorials on things I’d like to be rather doing yourself becomes some kind of a guilty pleasure. 100 day project shifts that.
Focus and consistency
This one is fairly an obvious one but it goes without saying that you learn to focus better and develop a habit of consistency.
An exercise for the imagination
Creativity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. It works like an exercise for your imagination. – ideas and lots of them
Self-discovery and exploration
You get to discover parts of you that you never thought were present before. It allows you to create space for the unknown. I certainly have learned a lot about myself and how I work the best. This has been a perfect chance to explore and learn more about my ownself.
You tend to care less of what other people think
When you are focusing more on honing in your craft and showing up you are thinking less and less about what other people think of you or what they are saying about your good enough work. You know that your work is going to improve and you can see the journey you are on, you recognize that you are part of a process and your work is going to grow and it is not the end of the world if it is not the best you could have done and you don’t get dishearten and leave it all behind. You remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day and you’ll get to try again.
You become more confident in the work you do
The more you practice your craft the more you develop confidence around what you are capable of. It allows you to strengthen that self-belief and it adds into your own view of self-worth. That creative confidence becomes the foundation of some groundbreaking work that’s hopefully about to come next.
Have you ever thought about doing a 100 day project yourself? or are you considering doing one in the future?
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When you are struggling with ‘originality’ and it’s all been done before idea.
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