Had a chat with someone yesterday about how supposed "inspirational" stories can actually inhibit people from trying to get better at those things themselves.

Most stories you hear are the rags-to-riches type; someone comes from nothing, devotes all their time and energy to one thing, and then becomes the best at it.

It puts a huge focus on being the Best at something, which makes many of us think: I'll never be the best, so what's the point of trying?

You see this a *lot* in sports, be it inspirational sports movies, the Olympics, organized/professional sports. There's a huge emphasis on being the BEST, which actively discourages people who don't have the time, energy, or inclination to devote most of their lives to the pursuit of This One Thing.

You see this a lot in creative circles, as well. People look at creatives making/playing incredibly detailed works and think "I could never do that, what's the point?"

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There isn't enough media celebrating people doing things just because they like to, whether they're objectively "good" at it or not.

You always hear about the ones with a talent in something, which is all well and good! But why should people feel discouraged from doing something just because they can't devote the time/energy to become "good" at it?

Why can't anyone doodle, draw, make comics, play music, write, etc. and enjoy it without feeling like they have to live up to a standard?

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It's taken me a very long time to unlearn a lot of the toxic ideas I gained over years of being in the illustration/art world.

We need to celebrate being "bad" at something, but doing it anyway, for the joy of it.

We need to celebrate singing at the top of your voice without caring what other people think.

There's nothing wrong with striving to be the best at something! But it's okay to just *do* things without measuring up. Enjoy what you do! Whether you do it for 40 hours a week or 10 mins

Anyway… I think about this stuff a lot. About the invisible barriers that are put up around various creative works, hobbies, sports, etc.

This stuff should be super accessible and above all, *fun*.

I grew up with weekly bonfires where my parents and their friends would sing songs around the fire, but everyone I know is too self-conscious to just… sing, make music, dance, etc. together.

I miss it so much!

Okay, stepping off my soapbox. :da_sweat: All the love, everyone!

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@Rheall really well said. It put me off music for years. I finally took the dive last year to learn piano, and now it's one the most enriching things in my life.

I can't believe I put it off for so long. I can't wait to learn my and gain my grade 1! Wish more people would take the plunge as just a chance to express themselves.

We vastly underestimate the value of self expression and the many forms it can take

@Rheall @Rheall I think a contributor to this is posting stuff on the internet. Even posting something that is meticulously done will bring out a whole fleet of pouncing critics.

I've posted things that I enjoyed making and was proud of (but that I have no proficiency in) and as a result been insulted and sworn at in comments.

For some reason I haven't felt like posting to my Making Things blog for a while.

Something you've kinda hinted at that I'd like to emphasize is that we shouldn't specifically celebrate being bad at something, but rather doing things with goals other than to gain recognition for your skills. If your goal is to have fun doing something, and you're enjoying yourself, you are succeeding by definition.

@Rheall There's something to both messages.

People who *are* "the best" at something (or at least very highly notable), are also, almost always, "just people". Exceptional in one area, ordinary in others, and struggling, challenged, or uncertain themselves. Seeing this can be useful.

But your point is also excellent. Life is a journey, but the point is in the voyage itself -- the destination is common, known, and not especially attractive. Find something and enjoy doing it, absolutely!

@Rheall this soapbox is exactly why I’m so happy to be a comics camper 💜💜

Bob Ross: Talent is a pursued interest. Anything you practice, you can do.
Alex Steacy: The way to get good at drawing is to suck at drawing for a while.

(These two are the reason I spent two and a half years doing daily sketches.)

The one 'good' thing I got from my abusing parents is a lot of practice saying 'fuck expectations, I'm doing what I want.'

Singing in the car, that's my thing. Great way to pass the miles and make a long trip shorter. Especially if you can get some rounds going.

@Rheall yes, I think that has been a big cultural shift in recent decades. For example, today's popular music tends to be things which one or two people with normal voices can't do, it requires fancy electronic equipment or a team of vocalists and instrumentalists ... and lots of sports have picked up equipment/uniform requirements which are not necessary but are expected.

@Rheall I'm an awful programmer and I've been programming for most my life. Doesn't stop me. :^)


Before radio and the phonograph it used to be that people would sing to themselves _all_ the time. The air used to be filled with the sounds of people singing... back before they learned to be embarrassed and ashamed and quiet.

I directly draw my musical inspiration from that purposefully forgotten music.

My own approach to music can be summed up with the lyrics: "Some people say it's singing I suppose. Some people say it's pooping with my mouth! But I am doing this thing!"

@Rheall @kensanata sometimes you have to learn not to be "good at" something on order to escape all the limitations of being good at it.

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