Let us let you in on a secret: success doesn’t start with one-in-a-million talent or a world-class education. No, the thought leader & artist we’re about to introduce you to has found a method so simple and so effective that you’ll be surprised you haven’t done it yet! Here’s her secret for getting better at almost anything.
We’re all striving to be a better version of ourselves every day, right? But, what if we’re wasting critical time trying to figure out what we’re “born” to do? Is there a better way to discover these big questions? Here’s one that’s more effective than pondering and planning. Annyen Lam shows us the way.
A groundbreaking revelation in a million paper cuts
In 2015, the Toronto-based artist Annyen Lam set herself a challenge: every day she would create a new piece of art. These were no ordinary pieces in charcoal, paint, or pen—no, Annyen’s art started with a piece of paper that, cut by cut, would disappear to reveal a tiny, fragile, beautiful design.
She called her work the Tiny Blades Project and with the precise strokes of an X-Acto blade, she’s created miniature bathtubs, books, chairs, roller coasters, houses, and plants. Every single day she would find a new subject lying within her paper, cut it out, photograph it, and post it online to ensure that she did it again tomorrow.
As she kept at this, something happened. More and more tiny, intricate pieces of paper art came into the world, more and more followers joined her online, and opportunities began to flow as her skills sharpened.
So, what was her simple recipe for success? Here’s Annyen in this fantastic video from CBC Arts!
And watch more videos from CBC Arts over on their YouTube channel.
“It’s only by actually going through a huge volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap, and your work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.” — Ira Glass, host of This American Life 2
Maybe there’s a reason “Just Do It” has been Nike’s slogan for decades: maybe just doing the thing, over and over again, can take you further than all your thinking and planning ever could. The more time that we put in, the more that we focus on the process rather than the outcome, the better we will eventually and naturally become!
Sure, pondering who we are and what we stand for can be really positive exercise in shaping what we’re working for, but usually, the answers to those questions are found after we’ve taken the time to step back and survey the work and life we’ve created.
Stop thinking and start doing!
Hoping to have a greener thumb this year? Plant a few containers and see how it goes! Dreaming of being a journalist? Find stories in your neighborhood and report on them daily. Even a piece on the life of the squirrel you see outside of your window every day can help you find your style as a writer and have work to show to others. Want to get better at drawing frogs? Try drawing one every day for a month and you’ll be surprised just how froggy those frogs will become!
Our success doesn’t always come from having a solid game plan. Most of the time, it’s from diving headfirst into the task and seeing where it brings us.
What are you going to dive into next? Maybe a personal challenge like the Tiny Blades Project will give you the right motivation to explore it!
Or maybe, these next folks can show you the way:
If you’re looking for permission to do something you’ve been thinking about doing, please let this article be your sign! We all want to see you succeed.
As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities!
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