Making Something Beautiful One Dot At A Time

One of my all-time favorite videos is embedded in this post.  Although I'm writing this at the turn of 2011 to 2012, the thoughts still apply.  A good reminder that the little things add up!

*** REPOST ***

"Art is not about thinking something up.  It is the opposite-- getting something down." 

Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

I like thinking about what a New Year holds.  Since I'm not privy to the future I'm sure that any new year will be surprising.  I'm also sure that I won't have a great perspective on what 2012 will mean until it's 2013 -- or later. That spooks me a little bit.

Still, I tell myself that I can't use fear or uncertainty as an excuse to simply drift along with whatever the tide brings in.  It does me good to remember that every day I make decisions about how to spend my time.  I make decisions on what to read.  I am in charge of the conversations that I have (or that I avoid having!).  So often I fall into the trap of thinking about the year's activities as something I need to "think up."  I approach it as though I have to create a giant "to do list" and make it happen.  However, it's probably something closer to simply "getting something down."

Instead of putting all of my energy into planning to do something, It's better to start doing.  (As a disclaimer to all of you under-planners and a nod to all you planners out there, this isn't an excuse to run your year half-baked.)

If you're like me, you likely have a design in mind of what you want your life to look like.  You have an idea for financial goals (lose that debt!), for physical goals (lose that weight!), and for relational goals (build bridges with God, family, friends).  It's likely not the vision that's lacking, it's the work.  It's not about thinking it up, it's about getting it down.

I saw this video the other day, and I found the perfect word picture for how I want 2012 to look.  I don't need to make a big resolution list with a few mammoth goals.  I want my year to be a lot more of taking faithful, individual steps in the right direction.  I hope to make it much closer to putting dots on the page rather than making a few big strokes.

The video below shows an amazing piece of art by Miguel Endara art comprised of 3.2 million ink dots. Clearly the sketch and design work of this project was only a fraction of what it took to create.  The effort to produce this art wasn't in the vision, it was in the execution.  The vision came in a moment, but the execution took 210 hours (literally).  Take a few minutes to watch the effort and the amazing outcome.

Hero from Miguel Endara on Vimeo.

Halfway through this video, I found myself less concerned about the whole picture and more amazed by the discipline, precision, and perseverance of the artist.  I found myself wanting that for me and my life.

2012 will come and go before we know it.  By all means, ask yourself,  "what are my big goals?" But, even more,  ask yourself "what are the small 'dots' that I need to put down on paper to get there?"

Here's hoping you many great dots this year!