This image is one of my favorite Pinterest finds.* It sits on my desktop as a reminder, because I suffer from a serious case of analysis paralysis. It’s hereditary. I come from a long line of ’em. This, coupled with my lifelong plague of perfectionism, can sometimes halt me from making any sort of forward movement. I definitely have the power to think something to death, which might come in handy in certain analytical situations, but it is the kryptonite of creativity.
It can be scary to start something new and different – something that is out of your comfort zone and that places you in a space of not knowing what the outcome will be. But when are we ever 100% ready? I’m not convinced that there is anything that you are 100% certain about when it comes to life decisions. If we wait until we are absolutely sure and have thought out every possible angle or scenario, we might never start. It is the starting that allows us to take a step in the direction we want to be heading. It is allowing the space and time for experimenting. Experimenting is uncertain and might not end up the way we thought, but it is also through experimentation that scientists were able to discover some of the best finds. How do we become scientists to our own lives? What beautiful discoveries are out there that we might never know if we don’t take that first step of starting?
I went to a 1st Thursdays DUMBO Gallery Walk back in the beginning of December 2012, where the artist and medium, Sharilyn Neidhardt, did a “divinatory consultation” for me out of cards that she made from photographs of words on signage around New York City. The intention of the cards was “to provoke subconscious feelings and ideas, which can then be discussed,” and the consultations “focused on psychological outcomes of the seeker, especially concerning artistic development and creative destiny.” I was super curious and eager to see what the experience would be like. The four cards that were laid out for me were STEAL, TIME, OPEN and THING. The first thing that Neidhardt said to me was, “You need to start. Whatever it is that you have been thinking about and thinking about, you need to stop thinking and just start creating.”
This comment hit me pretty hard, because Chapter Be, before I even had a name for it, had been a concept I had been thinking about for almost two years. I had been looking at other sites, doing research, saving articles, thinking about fonts, colors, layout, and analyzing what the best focus would be. I don’t think these activities were useless, but I had entered the point where all of this thinking, analyzing and research had paralyzed me. The deadly realm of overthinking, which caused me to question the whole idea and wonder how I would be any different from what was already out there and, therefore, what was the point? Neidhardt’s reading gave me the kick-in-the-arse that I so very badly needed. I started talking about the idea more with friends and family and three weeks later came up with the idea for the title, which then spearheaded more ideas and so-on-and-so-on.
In no way am I cured – I’m afraid analysis paralysis might be something that I will battle till my very end – but I am actively trying to place a statue of limitations on the amount of analyzing and thinking that I do. And it doesn’t hurt to have pretty reminders on your desktop to snap you into starting if that’s what it takes!
*I am not entirely sure who created the image, but have seen Tracey Neithercott credited (if anyone happens to know more, please leave me a note in the comments section!).