When did we stop trying?

By Dana Fox

I’m putting on my motivational face today because I’ve been sitting here pondering something that I cannot wrap my head around.

I get so many comments on this blog and on other social platforms in response to projects I share that go a little something like this: “I wish I could do that too”, or “If I (insert excuse here) I could do that”.  I just have one question… When did so many of us stop trying??

People often wonder how I do so many things… and believe me, I know I do such a variety of things! The thing is though, I love to try to do new things. I love the challenge of learning how to do something. I am always eager to jump into the next project or pull up a YouTube tutorial if I’m curious about how to create something. It’s not like I was born with magical powers that allow me to tackle anything you place in front of me or something, it’s just that I TRY. I see things, and I wonder how they are made. If somebody else could make it, what’s stopping me from learning how to as well?

I learned how to crochet a couple of weeks ago. This idea came from the simple thought that I wanted to make my own cute little amigurumi creature. Why? I don’t know, I just wanted to. I got myself some hooks and yarn, and pulled up Google and YouTube. Which, by the way, is pretty much all you need if you want to learn how to do something. A couple weeks later, here I am with a new skill, four amigurumi animals, a slouchy hat, and fingerless gloves. All because I TRIED.

This got me thinking about everybody who doesn’t try to learn new things… and it makes me sad. If you’re curious about something, you should teach yourself about it. Our brains need to stay active, they yearn to be filled up with new knowledge every day. Most importantly though, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with mastering a task is by far one of the best ways to stay motivated and keep your spirits up.

I get emails from people sometimes asking me how to do things that could have easily been answered if they took the time and did a quick Google search. While I like to help people out when I have the time, sometimes I can’t help but wonder why they aren’t just looking for this information on their own.  I mean, that’s what I would do regardless. Asking me to share information that I spent the time to learn myself would be unnecessary if they actually had the desire to become educated on the topic.

So why are people afraid to try? Is it a fear of failure? Are they too busy? Being busy never stopped me… (quite frankly that is the oldest excuse in the book)… and failure? There is no such thing if you try. What could be more important than your own pride? Than the new education you instilled in yourself from completing a new project?

I guess all I’m saying here is that people shouldn’t be so quick to deny a task or to say that there is no way they would be able to do something. There is no way you would ever know that you could do something if you don’t even give it a shot. It’s not like looking for information is a special talent!  Just like I said in the image above, anyone can do anything if they try, and I truly believe that, and you should too.

I encourage you all to try to learn more things in the new year. What is something you’ve been wanting to learn how to do?

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Dana Fox
Dana Fox
About me

I am a country loving Canadian with a mind that never sleeps. When I'm not running the Wonder Forest blog ship, you can find me creating artwork for phone cases and home decor, whilst managing the daily tasks of Dana Fox Creative. Visit me at the links below if you wanna be friends!


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A Better You in 2014
January 01, 2014
Aim High.
December 09, 2013
  • http://angstanxietypanic.wordpress.com/ vsangst

    Dana, that amigurumi is so cute! Are you going to be selling those in your shop at some point?

    I also want to say that you have been a huge inspiration to me and I want to thank you for it! For those of us who are skittish and afraid it's really amazing to see someone who is so creative, not afraid to put herself out there and who likes to learn and tackle new things. It truly is an inspiration. I even wrote about it on my blog…not sure if you had seen it! So thank you, because I would have been too afraid to pursue my dreams without your excellent example. Now I realize that life is short and we only get one, why waste it being afraid?

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/02014531564003493129 teacakemake

    Aw, that is so cute! I'm going to learn how to crochet in the New Year, am super excited as it is something I've always wanted to do.

    People def should not be afraid to try new things just because they worry they won't be that great at it. Because can you imagine what would happen if we all did that? Ohmy.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/07263219705031174912 Ginger Mandy

    You are so right! I used to think certain things were out of my skillset, but that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to try and see where it takes me. I've been thinking lately about projects I want to set goals for in 2013, mainly learning Photoshop, learning to cross stitch, and turn some of my photography into recycled notebooks.

    I just started reading you recently and love your blog!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/08769877554857471397 Nikkiana

    Well put, Dana.

    I think part of the issue is somewhere along the line (for me this happened in high school), many of us were taught that pursing the arts was a waste of time because we weren't inherently skilled in those areas… so at some point along the line, people start saying "I wish I could do that…" instead of saying "I am going to try that!" because they've internalized that message that it's a waste of their time because they might not be good at it right off the bat.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/17421347098225672822 Yasmeen

    This made me smile. :)

    It's so true. Google is probably my best friend; when I get frustrated with a piece of HTML or I want go learn a new word, I end up on there for hours. There's no reason not to give something a shot (unless its day trading or gambling which could seriously dent your wallet!) I just reviewd my new year's resolution list from last year and I managed to finish most of it with a little patience, effort, and budgeting.

    Castle Fashion

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/15555801450880316598 Alycia

    I sometimes have people say the same thing to me when I share my crochet projects. I had so many people say "I wish I could crochet" that I actually put together a huge list of links to youtube videos so they could teach themselves with the same videos I found helpful. There's only so much you can do for someone. It's all on them.

    But I have to add that for learning a few weeks ago, your amigurumi guy looks amazing! My first few amigurumis looked like something a 3 year old made lol!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/00623066458275205721 Yelle

    Trying new things is one of my favorite things to do too. But don;t discredit yourself! That crocheted little guy is so well done! You tried, and you pretty much mastered crocheting in such a short time!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/10487067132367683627 Amy Bateman

    I think the biggest stumbling block to many people is thinking they don't have the time to invest in learning a new skill, or just assuming that they won't be good and don't have the time to practice and practice until they're "good" at it. I'm planning to learn how to knit (for real). I sort of learned to make a scarf for my daughter with Sashay yarn/fabric, but I kind of just muddled my way through it. I want to be able to know that I can pick up some needles, yarn and a pattern and go to town. Considering that it really wasn't that long ago I was just learning to crochet and now I can pretty much follow any pattern, I'm very hopeful for success.

    Your bear is adorable. Great job!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/13365337032512997277 April S.

    Great post!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/17802204746361840271 Rhonda

    Dana you are exactly right about this! I think some people aren't curious about how things are made, or whether they can do it themselves. I don't know where it came from, but I grew up believing I could do anything, and that's what I encourage in my children. This year I'm going to become a runner so I can run through Paris in May, an anniversary/family vacation we've been saving for. I can't imagine a better way to see Paris, so that's what I'm going to do! And I'm going to finally master Photoshop.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/06838446279766485274 Little Red Feather

    Amen. Your really hit this sorry subject right on the head. I started selling stuff on etsy about a year ago and no one was there to guide me through it. I have had such a successful year and the most annoying thing I get from people is… how did you do it, is it worth it. One girl had told me, I know I could look up all this on google but I figured I would ask you instead. I mean I am always down to help people out but goodness… do people think it's just handed to you. I worked my butt off night and day trying to figure out what I know just to hand it off to someone else? I'm so glad you posted this. It's not about not wanting to share knowledge with people it's about people trying!

    Anyway I currently got a handful of business books on growing my biz off of amazon and that's what I am trying to learn now. I love learning but most importantly teaching myself.

    You are very talented though! I think it takes a strong will and a good spirit to tackle anything you want to and some people just don't have that. That doesn't mean there aren't other things that they are great at though. :)

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/10419284501691021105 Cara H

    I love this post, Dana. Thank you so much for the challenge and the encouragement to pursue what we want to learn! This is awesome. xo also I think the problem is that we are a generation of instant satisfaction, so we want to know how to do things NOW and if we don't know how, we find someone who can.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/14909363699163713328 JennyScribbles

    cute little creatures! I want to take up knitting again, this post has pushed me to stop procrastinating and go and do it!


  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/04547447525237940505 Melisa – Mommy This & That

    People are full of excuses, I know I am. But I think Nikkiana makes a very valid point…from childhood we are told we can do anything but really it means to do what you are good at and forgo the rest. And when you do take the plunge to try something new? You want to truly be good at it before you show and share it with the world. That being said this was a great piece and has given me food for thought with what I would like to try for 2013!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/06767355856574389882 ElleSee

    I feel the same way when people ask me how I lost weight. Yes, I did ask another friend if he had any tips, but after he passed on a really great website to me, I did the rest of the work and figured out what would work best for me, and I also had a cheerleader through my friend. The people that ask me about my weight loss can say they're too busy to work out or figure out a plan, but the truth is, they just don't want to do it, or they're not ready to do it.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/07650587056374483559 his little lady

    This post was so inspiring. I'm definitely one of those people who has trouble motivating them-self to learn new things because I hate the feelings of failure. Thank you for giving me that little kick in the butt to try harder 😉
    xo TJ

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/01871892314579622753 Tegan

    I get a bit sick of people saying to me "you're so talented!" when really it's not talent but determination to teach myself a new craft! So many people say "I wish I could do that!" but don't actually give it a shot! The world would be a brighter, happier place if everyone gave up on the defeatist attitude (yes, I get the irony of that sentence)and had a go at something they long to master! Life's too short for wishing instead of doing!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/05444600321874036769 Stephanie

    I think some people who say "I wish I could do that" are admiring a skill set, but don't necessarily want to invest the time/money/energy into it. In a perfect world, I wish I could do woodwork and metal stamping, but I've tried both of those, like seriously put in effort, and neither of those have worked out for me; so I admire other people's work and wish I could do that but understand that I am talented in other things. Not saying that I wouldn't try either woodworking or stamping again, it's just not my forte. Personally, I would email a blogger for more information about a project because they've done it and would be able to point me in the right direction or share some insider tips but mostly to create a rapport with that person – blogging is all about connecting with other people.

    That being said, I do agree with you that people shouldn't be so defeatist and underestimate themselves, because by trying they could discover a talent and a passion they never knew they had. Here's to 2013 and trying new things :)

  • http://claireabellemakes.com/ claireabellemakes.com

    What a great post. It really struck a cord with me as this week I learnt to snowboard on a trip to Canda and I never thought I could ever do something like that! What an awesome feeling it was. I am not an 'extreme sports' or adventure kinda girl, so for me to do something like that (on the slopes at Whistler) made me feel pretty proud and gave me a confidence to feel like I can achieve anything if I have a good mindset. I told myself I wouldn't give up if I found it hard and I would not get frustrated. When I was stuck on my butt for 20 mins trying to get up on my board (and my bf thought I was lost in the snow!!) I kept telling myself "I can do this". In my mind, there is no such word as can't.

    And we looked at youtube videos before we went! :)

    Congrats on your new crochet skills. I learnt this year too and it is so fantastic to see others catching the crochet bug.

    Claire x

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/02091166043133742539 Natasha Solae

    Love this post.

    I think that as artists, we tend to have what I call ADHD. I find myself starting, stopping, getting into multiple thing. I think that this is good in a sense and makes life very interesting to allow yourself to be free to do whatever!

    I am not sure if people really do believe that they 'can't' do something. I think most people really just DONT think about it. I have learned over the years that not everyone aspires to do great things or even has the mind capacity to imagine these things. For people like you and others, and I included, I think its our imagination that constantly leads us to great things. I guess that's why there are those who are really successful and out there for a reason. Take it as a blessing. Some people I think mentally have that block and really cant do what you do which is why people say, "how did you…?"

    xo, N

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/04770106489726114924 Kait

    Amen ! 😀

    When I do something interesting, and people are like "how do you do that?" (as though I'm some sort of otherworldly being), I'm just like, "um, I put time and effort into learning how." I'm not magic.

    I think people have this inaccurate notion about talent. They think it exists in some individuals, who can effortlessly spin straw into gold like Rumpelstiltskin. They don't realize that, while some people do pick up new skills quickly, talent is developed through hard work and patience.

    I wish more people would see the diligence behind the great-artist-slash-seamstress-slash-whoever-makes-cool-stuff. Cause then maybe they wouldn't give up so easily, and realize that with determination you can learn to do way more than you think. :)

    Anyway, love the post, Dana.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/18158771451792922494 LuckyRainbowDesigns

    So true Dana!!

    Perhaps its something to do with the fact we're living in an instant culture, people want everything now and have zero patience to learn what it takes to make, x,y,z or whatever it is they want.

    My mother calls me all the time and if I say something like "Oh I made this the other day!" Her response is always "How?" and my answer is always "Google it, GOOGLE IT!" – Like you its how I learn many things or source information, so I can never understand when people don't empower themselves to learn more via this method or hey, even a good ole booky wooky!!!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/05232155737520099120 Jemma x

    This is a great motivational post xxx


  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/11337177822498386911 sarah welsch

    I normally am not afraid to try, it is just I am enamored with trying to figure out all of my other things at the same time and don't focus on one thing. I have embroidered projects, sewing projects, paintings, etc all waiting for me to finish. I start something, and then start something new!



  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/01690457746281024752 Sara

    I love reading this post. It make me think about my resolutions for the new year and I think at some point we began to be so focus on the result that we lost the confidence to just try. Because we are creatures afraid of failure, but the truth is we definetely wont be anything if we dont try.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/06357212757464946834 LG

    Thank you for this post! It covers what's been bothering me when people say "you've obviously got too much time on your hands," when I create something awesome. When did it become ok to spend absolutely no time devoted to anything beyond TV or the internet?! People are crazy – but it makes me happy to know that there are those of us who still want to create and explore!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/00132347068018684933 Shary

    1. I don't know how to put on eyes like that nd generally just embroider or sew on felt eyes. I'm jealous!

    2. You should consider making a little monster for Sandy Hook. I blogged about it here: http://sharylovesyou.blogspot.com/2012/12/600-monsters-strong-for-connecticut.html

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/09466115559243558266 Sarah Lynn Knowles

    a perfect new year's lesson. i resolve to try!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/18169520888203811194 SarahTalia

    I'm so with you! I think part of the issue is that people aren't committed to enjoying the process, they're too obsessed with having a perfect product, and so by default they will not enjoy learning, because you never start with a perfect product. I wonder if they all had helicopter parents or what?