Fearing our first pieces of work

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I recently had the opportunity to go on a clinical clerkship. Although many of the things I encountered I know in theory, I struggled with applying some of my knowledge and skills to real practice.

When learning things in life, we often start with learning the theory- someone telling us how to do something, and the reasoning behind it. Yet, we cannot become a master at something purely by reading, listening, or watching.

You have to practice. No matter how much we read about how to do something, we must put it to practice.

I became proficient in Photoshop due to a video game I used to play. That game allowed players to design things as a core mechanic, and there were community sites that allowed players to share their designs with the world. I wanted to share my successful designs with as many people as possible to better their playing experience (and for me to climb the design leaderboard). I noticed that successful posts used nice looking thumbnails and pleasant screenshots of the design. I aspired to do the same.

That is how I started with Photoshop. To showcase my designs on this community website. Although I had to do a good amount of Googling to figure out what all the buttons and functions are in Photoshop, and what the common techniques are for certain actions, what propelled me to become fairly strong with photo editing and digital design is my consistent practice.

Looking back at my earliest thumbnails, yes, they were atrocious. I certainly felt uneasy about showcasing the thumbnails. But as the months and years went by, the improvements in thumbnails is obvious. The first and last thumbnail I ever created for my designs are light-years apart.

It can be scary to produce our first and otherwise early pieces of work. More often than not it's due to us knowing that our future skills will have improved and that our current work is not us at our best. But that is how everyone starts.

Acknowledging this, swallowing our fear and just practising consistently is how we improve.

See also:

An older post on the method I reckon is the best way to learn a skill (using Photoshop as the example)

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