I struggle to make decisions. Even the simplest questions can leave me confused.
What do you want to eat? I don’t know. Let me think about it for awhile… A donut? No, too sweet. A hamburger? That’s always good if it’s got avocado. But too greasy. Ramen? No, too oily, maybe on a cool day. Sushi? Maybe for lunch, not dinner.
And so the internal conversation goes on. So typically, I rely on others.
If this is my reaction with a question so simple, imagine how stressed my life gets with decisions like should we move. However, after a small counseling session to improve my marriage, I was encouraged to utilise the same process of making decisions as I use when I am painting a picture—rely on intuition.
When I begin a painting, I rarely have much figured out. I might have an impression of where to go, but even a clear image in my mind requires intuition to translate it onto paper. So I wing it. Throw down some lines. Begin feeling my way around the canvas. One step at a time. If I use this color, what looks nice with that? If this is where I want you to look, how do I adjust elements of composition. And over time I’ve acquired tools and tips to help that process become more calculated. But the process can still be a mess.
One blessing of digital is I don’t have to have it all figured out. It morphs. You choose a skin color and then adjust it. Push light and shadows, balance hard and soft edges until it just “looks right.”
Getting it to the point where it looks right, does not always mean it feels right or you make the right decisions. Following your intuition has to be coupled with an endurance to trudge forward even when things turn into a mess. Then choosing a new path forward even if you don’t see clearly what the final result will look like.
I love watching other artists speed paintings. I am amazed every time by the amount of adjustments that often take place. That is what being an artist is about. Making a series of design decisions until arriving at that place where you can say, this is finished.
So, how do you know when it’s finished? The simplest answer is either when it communicates what you intended, or you learned what you needed to from the process. But once again listening to those inner directions that guide every artist. The more you practice listening, the more clearly you will hear.
So how about those other big life decisions, like “What do you want to eat?” Can I get back to you on that?