the sky floor

Is your painting already crooked?

April 8, 2021

Leading up to this past Easter, my kids were coloring a few pieces of art each morning. After they finished their artwork, my wife would hang the finished masterpiece on the dining room wall. 

As the week progressed, we both stood back and realized that these 20 pieces of paper were all trending on the same subtle angle up and to the right. We quickly discovered that the single actual painting on that wall was slightly askew itself. The angle wasn’t severe. It was so subtle that it wasn’t detectable when it was the only square-cornered piece on the wall. 

Each subsequent piece of paper that my wife put up on was based on that first angle. Unknowingly, the original painting had set the foundation for a wall of crooked and slightly off images. 

I wonder how you are setting your foundations. Is your baseline slightly awry? Is the way you measure success off a little bit? Are your foundational assumptions about your audience just tilted a smidge? Perhaps the way you view people has been skewed by your past trauma – now you have trouble trusting employees and clients. 

If your baseline is just a little off, it can set the trend for everything after it – until the subtle becomes obvious. Like the proverbial frog in boiling water, we don’t notice until we have no other choice (side note, frogs do leave slowly heating water). 

In the end, some quick unsticking of scotch tape and minor adjustments brought the kid’s art wall more or less square. But what about your assumptions? Will they be as easy to correct? 

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We all hold underlying elementary beliefs about ourselves, others, and our work. The remodeling of your approach is always available, but the sooner you discover your foundation is crooked, the easier it is to fix it. 

Regularly set aside some time to evaluate your ideas and assumptions and tweak them before you end up with a wall of crooked art.