Mutterings: Do you see potential or do you seek perfection?

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Scribble
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When I had my first teaching job the students whom I taught had no art or creative experience and they were underprivileged kids with difficult backgrounds.

And the best part of teaching was the discovery of their talents they never thought they had. They surprised themselves and even me when most of them took to painting, desktop publishing, photography, designing and other creative assignments as though they had been art students all along.

Those who didn’t excel in it were mainly uninterested, not that they didn’t have what it took.

Teaching these students for the next five years taught me how to see the potential in every single one of them regardless of their abilities, knowledge and origin.

But as I progressed to teach in bigger and more reputable art colleges the lesser I got to discover potentials and I started seeking for perfection instead. The marking system became more and more complicating, sometimes involving an entire department just to gauge a student’s progress.

Needless to say the best time of my life was fading away with the ridiculousness of measuring a student’s artistic flair and creative ideas with a set of rules.

And at some point of my life I lost that potential-seeing-person that I started out to be and became a perfection seeking individual instead.

It was not until a few years ago when I met a movie director who gave me my first break to write a TV movie script. The only portfolio I had was a movie script I wrote that I showed him. Since then I have written over six movie scripts both for TV and the silver screen, mainly with him.

When I asked him later why he gave me that opportunity he said, not in so many words, that I had the potential.

And then I wrote my first full length play and passed it to a stage director to review it. He was immediately keen to stage it even though it got a thrashing from the actors who did a reading for it. I began to feel a little doubtful of my work but he believed in it so much he told me it was the potential that mattered, not the perfection. So, with that, I went back to rewrite the play as best as I could for him so that he could stage by the end of the year.

Recently, I sent in my manuscript to a publisher and the editor liked the first chapter. She said it had potential and if I could rewrite some of the bits she would love to consider it for publication.

Then it all came back to me when I remembered how I loved discovering my students’ works and get bowled over by them. Those directors and editor brought me back to the place where I used to be when I saw potential in everyone by giving them a chance, perhaps a little motivation and a few words of encouragement. Potential, the way I see it, is a stepping stone that helps us realize greater things which are just around the corner. To expect perfection is to wait for the muse or the genie to appear and shower us with inspirations and wishes which, of course, will never come.

I don’t know where it all stems out from but we know that there is no such thing as perfection and yet we undeniably go look for it in products and services, friendships and relationships as though all we can ever accept is just that: value for our money and value for our ego.


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