Whenever I start a project, I usually have a clear vision on what it will look like in the end. I spend a lot of time going over the process in my mind, the techniques I’d use, and the tools that I’ll need to have in place before attempting this project. I have more time to think about a project than I have to actually build the project. As such, I have built up the project so much in my mind, but it rarely comes out the way I expect.
I was playing with the lathe over the weekend. I just wanted to knock out a couple of quick projects for my own amusement. The image I had in my mind for what I wanted to turn was very clear. Unfortunately, my lathe skills are not as good as the mad skills I have built up in my mind. The gouge catches, leaving huge gashes in my work. I growl and say bad words which spirals me into a foul mood. My masterpiece is ruined.
This weekend I did something a bit different. I stepped back and analyzed what I was doing. Not my tool-handling technique, nor my ability. But rather my reaction. This is stupid. I come out to the garage to create and relax. This doesn’t sound too relaxing to me. Then I asked myself, does it really matter?
I’m not selling them. They’re not for a client. They’re for me. Its far from perfect. In fact, this goblet has a huge ding in it. Do I care? If I really think about it, I guess I really don’t. It’s silly for a newbie to expect perfect results.
Even if it was perfect, knowing me I’d drop it on the concrete on accident while showing somebody and putting a ding in it anyway. But I did learn a lot for seeing the project through to the end. And after all that, I still have a nice piece to put on my mantel.
I’d even bet that the pros out there rarely have a project go according to plan. I think the idea is not to necessarily “not care,” but rather accept it for what it is and adapt accordingly. You’ll say a few less bad words, reduce your blood pressure much more, and have a much better time.
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