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Life is Your Canvas

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Have you ever painted a picture that didn’t turn out quite like you planned? Maybe the colors ran together or the shapes were not quite right. You probably wondered how you might fix it. With no easy way to erase paint, the problem certainly demands a creative solution. This is a pivotal moment we all face at some point. What will you do? Will you throw your canvas away and invite self pity and boredom to be your new friends? Or will you paint on with hope and perseverance? John Gardner said that “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” Inevitably, our lives will be colored with many scenes of satisfaction, and some sketches of sorrow.

Initially, you may perceive the undesirable forms on your canvas as mistakes or misfortune, but you mustn’t allow them to haunt you. For this gives them power to cloud your vision and steal your confidence. Instead, embrace the aberrant pigments that mottle your canvas. Accept their challenge as you explore the deepest parts of your imagination. You will find your dreams there, waiting - eager to be transformed into reality.

Now is the time to define your goals and make your plans. Larry Elder said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Furthermore, William Feather pointed out that “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” So hold on fervently to your vision with faith. Sometimes, you may feel afraid or doubt your abilities. Van Gogh suggested that “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” Refuse to listen to any voice saying “you are not good enough! You can’t! it’s impossible!” Seize the brush that is eager to yell “You CAN!” Listen as it becomes louder with each stroke. Let your paint be determination proclaiming that you WILL finish what you start, and it will be EXCELLENT!

There is another important thing to remember as you continue to refine your masterpiece. YOU are the artist, but you must recognize the resources that nurture your creativity. Often these resources are people. Value the ideas of others and understand that cooperation is an indispensable ally. She opens the elevator for innovation and advancement. After all, “When was ever honey made with one bee in a hive?” asked Thomas Hood. We often start out trying to reach our goals alone feeling the need to prove our independence.

However, you will eventually find the words of Earl Nightingale to be true. He said that “Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with and through people.” In light of this, regard instruction and advice as fresh paint brushes offered to you free of charge. They are tools that can inspire you - scaffolds that take you far beyond your expectations. Resolve to appreciate them and you will realize how to use them.

And finally, be helpful and kind. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” You will be amazed at what you accomplish when you set out to help others and when you allow others to help you. Congratulations on completing another layer of your masterpiece. May you find joy and adventure as you seize the advice of Danny Kaye “Life is a great big canvas; throw ALL the PAINT you can at it.”

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