Three Ideas for Changing Your Investment Perspective

August 19, 2014

by Mariko Gordon

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For reasons I have long since forgotten, sometime around the age of ten I became obsessed with learning how to draw properly. I wanted my drawings to accurately reflect what I saw – and not look like something sketched by a kid.

This proved to be mission impossible.

And yet, every few years, I would heed the call of my art muse and enroll in a drawing class, hoping that maybe this time someone would teach me HOW. Instead, I was always told to “just go ahead and draw what you see,” an instruction that always left me completely paralyzed. (If I knew how to draw, I wouldn’t be taking a CLASS, now would I?!)

Happily, that all changed 30 years later, when I signed up for a workshop designed for adult, stick-figure artists like myself. The workshop, a weekend-long event, used techniques developed by Betty Edwards, author of the best-selling book, Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain.

That workshop changed my life. Mostly, because it proved to me that learning anything – at any age – is possible, provided you’re willing to break yourself in two.

Upside down drawing

As it turns out, the trick to learning how to draw is in relearning how to see.

Why? Because somewhere along the way, as our brain matures, we start to draw what we THINK we see rather than what we’re actually looking at. And while this evolutionary shortcutting serves us well in most instances (it’s the reason we don’t look at a person standing in profile next to us and wonder where their second arm and leg went), it hampers our ability to really observe things. And to draw well, that’s exactly what you need to do.

One of the tricks used by Betty Edwards to rewire her students’ brains was to have you copy a simple drawing of a chair. Except … you copy it UPSIDE DOWN. Somehow, and because a chair in this position is unfamiliar, it turns off the know-it-all part of your brain and appears as just a bunch of lines and angles. Copying it this way leads to a much more accurate drawing.

It’s sheer genius, and it literally changed the way I see the world. I was no longer afraid to pick up a pencil, or to learn impossible things, once I realized that my brain is a completely plastic thing.

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