The Important Difference Between Children and Adults

Figure Painting by Wu Hsien-sheng from his book Ink Figure Paintings. This beautiful 208 page hard cover book features both finished masterpieces house in a coffee table quality format with very help illustrative instruction. Text is in Chinese. See a video book review of the book.

Originally Posted: June 29, 2021

Habits of a Resistant Mind

An odd thing that I noticed in my 8 years of teaching adults in a private lesson type format is more often than not, I find myself investing a large amount of time, skill and energy convincing them that they should try.

It seems so strange that they are volunteering to be there, paying for my time and expertise to teach them and act as a guide and yet when I ask them to do something, the first thing that they offer is an excuse as to why they cannot do what I am asking.

I also notice that children have this issue far less than adults. Many are unaware that they should have a "comfort zone," and especially have not developed a habit to justify why they should stay in their comfort zone when they are asked to try something. More times than not, children just go for it!

The funny thing is that I do not believe that children have a higher capacity to learn than adults. They just have less mental resistance to trying and judge themselves less harshly if they are initially unsuccessful.

Adults have a higher capacity to understand things than children. They have the wisdom of their life experience and they usually have a greater command over their bodies than children. However, they cannot benefit from these advantages, if they have developed the mental habit of first focusing on the reasons why what they want to do will be difficult or impossible.

Past successes we have had as adults do not serve us if they have created an "ego" that is so desperate to protect itself that it will not risk failure to try to learn something new.


Yoda Sumi-e Painting by Pechane

How to Go from Trying to Doing

"Do or do not, there is no try." -Yoda

This iconic quote from the most famous Jedi master offers some wisdom for the modern world. What this statement means to me is that there is an inevitability of success to everything attempted if you have a long enough view. That is, you may try and fail 100 times but eventually you will succeed and when you do you will realize that the entire time (including all the previous failed attempts), you were not trying but actually doing. All the failures were as much part of your success as the final successful attempt ergo "do or do not, there is no try."

Practical Tips

  • Knowledge is not helpful if it argues against what you desire. Develop the habit of letting go of statements that argue for your own limitation. No matter how true they have been in the past, they must be released for you to get what you want.
  • Develop the habit of looking at things simply and innocently like a child would. Try new things with an open mind.
  • When you develop a habit of trying new things, you discover the universal truth that anything you focus on over time with an open mind, eventually become reality
  • The more confidence you develop in this universal process the more quickly and effortlessly you will create the experiences in your life you wish to experience


Artist improvement

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