“Focus on what you have and what you can do instead of what you don’t have and can’t do.” Phil Keoghan on Tim Ferriss Podcast
Two phrases drive me nuts, “When I get… then I’ll…” and “If only…” Both focus on what you do not have. And you just might wait a lifetime to get that thing or person you are convinced will fill your life, only to discover that person or thing turns out to be a huge disappointment.
Discover a New “Can Do”
Instead, why not take what you have or, if it’s affordable purchase tools or books or classes, and then go out and do something. Be sure to make that “something,” something you love to do.
At sixty years old I found myself imagining a painting for nearly ten years. In my imagination I saw this painting in detail: 10’ x 10’, 9 black and white squares, 4 black corners and a black center square, with the “pop touch” being a splash of red large in the center that sprayed all over the right-hand side of the painting.
I figured that one day I would commission an artist to paint it for me to hang in my large living room. That day never come. So one day I thought, “Shoot, why don’t I just paint the silly thing myself?” I invited an artist friend over to the house to teach me how to (1) apply acrylic paint to a canvas, (2) tape off the canvas to paint straight lines, and (3) clean up to preserve brushes.
I bought a 3’ x 3’ canvas, a few tubes of acrylic paint, some brushes and painter’s tape. In two days I had completed the painting exactly as I imagined it. I didn’t know I could paint and I certainly never thought of myself as an artist. Not now. Seven years later I have completed well over 100 hundred paintings. Some of them are actually good. I mean people have bought my work. Crazy!
I discovered something I could do and I did it… a lot. Sometimes I totally lose track of time and can paint six hours or more, oblivious to anything or anyone. I have painted until sunrise and I have awakened at night in bed with an image in mind, knowing I’ll forget it when morning comes. I get up, go out to my studio, and paint.
You are most certainly good at something you love to do. Why not spend more time doing it? Who cares what other people think. You are not doing it for them. It’s for your enjoyment only.
Do What You Can Do
Photos from Charlie Hedges