Saturday, October 6, 2018

How Learning to Draw Helps Testing

Or: how I learned to look closely. And then even closer.

Today I attended the Growth Mindset meetup here in Munich. They were hosting a "You can learn everything! Like drawing" workshop and it made me realize that I had received lots of training in the past how to look closely. As our facilitator shared, learning to draw is not about training your hand, it's about learning to see, like an artist. It's about perceiving your surroundings, the things, everything - as they are. Neither to add nor to omit anything.

My original intention to attend the workshop was to challenge myself to pick up drawing again. The first half of my life I loved drawing. I took art as intensive course back at school. I even considered to study art. But then I got frustrated and lost all motivation.

So, back then I had quite decent drawing skills; not overwhelmingly awesome, but good. Then I left drawing behind me for years. From time to time, I halfheartedly tried to pick it up again and got quickly frustrated by the results - and dropped it again. Why? Because I instantly compared them to my level back then, neglecting the fact that I had been training drawing every - single - day, putting in many hours.

When I started to work I had to establish a growth mindset to learn so many things I've never done before. With all the things I learned ever since, I thought maybe I could use that new knowledge and experience to re-trigger the drawing topic. To discover the fun again. To practice the patience it requires. To train my eye for detail. There's a time for letting things be "good enough", and there's a time for not being satisfied with that. In any case, I would train my right brain half.

And it worked! I suddenly looked forward to this five hour workshop, taking place on a Saturday morning (not my usual time). The first hours triggered so many memories about the training I received.  Also, my first drawings after a long time were not so bad after all (I had expected them to be worse). All looking bright? Unfortunately not. The problem started when coming to the end of the workshop and our final drawing. This was the time my brain interfered again, telling me "my drawing should be better". That "I should be better". I did not manage to shut it up.

My lesson: I am on a good way to train my growth mindset further, in further areas, also in areas I thought I had left behind. Still, there's much more work to do and effort to put in. It's the same as with every skill, like drawing - also the growth mindset itself has to be continuously trained and honed. Next time I hope I can keep my brain from interfering - a bit longer.

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