How Doing Something Wrong Can Sometimes Feel So Right

1The other day I was invited to a party at one of those places where everyone drinks wine and learns how to paint the same picture. I’ve never been a good artist, and that night my right arm was hurting from typing all day. I didn’t want to irritate it further by holding up a paintbrush all night, so I decided I would just watch. But where’s the fun in that?

I had a second thought . . . I would paint the picture with my left hand. It would be an experiment in patience to see if I could handle the extra effort it would take to finish the painting and an experiment in creativity to see if using my weaker hand would trigger some other part of my brain. Secretly, I was hoping to make a new discovery. Maybe my true genius with a paintbrush had been hidden because I’d been using the “wrong” hand all along.

You can see the result of my efforts here, although I confess a few of the finishing touches were done with my right hand. I call this style “early pre-school,” and I think it might catch on. To be honest, my piece didn’t wind up looking that much different from many of the others, aside from the fact that the paint on my canvas was much heavier, no doubt due to my inability to control the pressure I was applying.

This experiment served to remind me, though, that we should sometimes break out of our routines in order to challenge ourselves and to reconnect with the pure joy of creation. Using my left hand forced me to pay more attention to each stroke. It caused me to work slower and with a bit more patience, but it also made me laugh. So today, shake up your routines, take a few risks. Face your chair in the opposite direction, work in a new medium, write something in longhand instead of typing it out, try a new angle in your sales calls or take the day off and go do something you’ve never done. Reconnect to your love of art and have some fun!