6 life lessons I learned painting a wall
We're doing some minor renovations at the moment. Feeling my pain? I'm spending a lot of time painting and, in doing so, I'm spending a lot of time in my own head. It's a time consuming process, but strangely satisfying and it's taught me a few things along the way that are so applicable to so many things that we do.
1 Preparation is key
There's nothing like a fresh coat of paint on a wall to show up all of the lumps and bumps! Just considering the process, rather than rushing in headlong, could actually save time and increase productivity.
This applies to so many things in life. Assessing what's required, ensuring that the right tools and resources are in place and having a clear plan of action delivers the right result.
Elite athletes use mental rehearsal for performance and researchers conclude that it may help create the same 'neural processes' as when the activity is for real.
So next time that you're doing something challenging, make sure that you set aside the time to work things out in your head, or on paper. This will allow your mind to visualise where you want to be and to set a course for how you get there.
2 You can't cover over the cracks
Refer point 1. Trying to cut corners when you're renovating really doesn't work in the long term. The same area was painted a couple of years ago and the cracks show through.
We have an amazing ability to compartmentalise the different roles we play in life. Like leaving work at the office, or having a grown up conversation, rather than with your toddler. This ability allows us to manage all of the tasks that we are juggling. Psychology calls it a 'coping strategy'.
However, it is important to ensure that you are setting something to one side to deal with later, not pushing things out altogether, because they are too painful or difficult to deal with. Soldiers who have experienced trauma often find that it comes back to haunt them, in the form of PTSD and some people find that they can actually trap things in their body, resulting in physical pain. If there is something that you're unable to deal with on your own, ask for help.
3 Nobody sees things the way you do
Renovations create friction. Enough said.
We all see the world through a different lens and everybody's version of reality is unique based on their values and belief system. If you disagree with someone, take the time to consider their point of view and literally 'where they are coming from', i.e., their background. It will help you understand why they have that particular stance and what you can do to change it.
4 White is not always white
Repainting a white wall white really illustrates how things fade over time.
It's easy to become jaded with hobbies or interests. When you do something for the first time it's shiny and new and brilliant. But once you've done that same thing over and over, it becomes repetitive and dull. If you feel the need to reinvigorate something that you used to enjoy, just take some time to re-engage with why you took it up in the first place. Also, find a new way to challenge yourself, either through learning something new or applying your skills in a totally new way.
5 Going over old ground often makes things worse
At some things, I like to think of myself as a perfectionist and I've discovered that this applies to painting. I've made the mistake of trying to touch up semi-dried paint and made it much, much worse.
Evolution is all about learning from mistakes, so it is natural for us to check our actions and determine whether we could do something better. However, when doing so makes us self critical leading to a negative outlook, it can be more damaging than productive.
If you find yourself prone to self talk (internal voice) over something that has just happened, just assess whether your criticism is constructive and will help you avoid making a similar mistake, or whether its unrealistic and unkind. If its the latter, just consider the words that are being said and then imagine these same words in the voice of Mickey Mouse, even saying them out loud. Putting an amusing spin on something can make it seem ridiculous and help you to be kinder to yourself.
6 Sometimes you need to call in the experts
I don't like admitting my limitations. I like to think I can turn my hand to most things. But investing hours in something that a professional could do in a lot less time, and a lot better than I can, is not fulfilling and it was like a weight off my shoulders to admit this!
Be aware of your own limitations in life. Specialists are trained to deal with those things that we cannot do by ourselves, like tax returns or fixing a bad back. If there is something that is currently holding you back in life and preventing you from becoming the best that you can be, there are trained specialists that can help, as wonderfully articulated by a recent client of mine:
"If there's something that keeps coming up that you can't fix by yourself, hypnotherapy can make a huge difference."
Call 0401 871476 for a free consultation.
Who knew that watching paint dry could offer such enlightenment :)