This post is part of The Declaration of You’s Blog Lovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. This week the chapter is Success.

I have been struggling with paradox thoughts around success for the last couple of weeks. I have been teaching art to primary school kids. My goal has been to encourage them to be brave, do mistakes and have fun. I want them to enjoy the process, not focus on the result and to encourage them to use their own creativity.

At the same time I think it is important that kids art is taken seriously, so at the end of the term we are exhibiting their art in a local art gallery (Lightwave Gallery, Mount Maunganui), side by side with professional artists. Very exciting both for the kids and me.

The paradox has been that even though my goal is to let the kids have fun, do mistakes and not focus on the result, I have been struggling with letting go this time.  I have been fighting with my own need to be successful in other people's eyes. I have had a hard time letting go of the result, of what the parents and other visitors to the gallery will think about the kids’ art. The paradox is that I am encouraging the kids to not focus on the result and at the same time I am thinking about what others will think... not about the kids achievement but about mine! Am I a good art teacher? Will the exhibition be good enough in other people’s eyes? Will I be successful? …according to others. I have succeeded with my goals of letting the kids have fun and follow their intuition and that they will feel meaning and pride in the exhibition... but success is what other people think, right?

Ooh, I so wish I could let go of what other people think!

Two days ago we hung the exhibition and it looks absolutely awesome! By having a really good plan where each individual piece fits into the whole, like a mosaic, we have been able to achieve that all the pieces are as important to make up the whole, it is not about how each individual piece look it is about the whole... and they look stunning together... 1+1=3! The kids have had great fun and not been pushed to perform and they have listened to their own voices… just what I wanted! And we (together with Joyce van der Lely and Lightwave Gallery) have succeeded in putting together an exhibition that looks awesome in the eyes of the visitor. The opening is tomorrow and it will be a great success!

But people forget and the happiness of success is short. I think that if we can let go of what other people measure as a success and listen to our inner voice about what our true selves want, we will be happy in a deeper and long lasting way. 

Or as Dalai Lama put it:

  “ The planet does not need more “successful” people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds”

Have a great day!

Please comment:

  • Joyce van der Lely • July 14, 2013 at 11:05:34 AM
    Jenny, I think we made it work on all levels, the exhibit looks great all joined together, the kids are tremendously proud and the parents amazed. What more can we ask for ? Great working together with you, we should do it more often <3 xx Joyce

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