A steady drizzle of frigid droplets falls upon the old porch. My normal view of blue or purple hills in the distance is grayed down to barely visible, and the air is so cold, it feels as if I could throw water into the air and watch it turn to ice crystals.
I arose early with my head spinning with ideas, putting my toes into the warm blue corduroy slippers with the wool lining. I’ve pulled an old sweatshirt over my head, and a blanket is wrapped around all of me other than my arms and fingers, which kiss the cold keyboard.
Last week artist Stewart White was visiting and imparted some advice to my kids. Simple, yet meaningful. He told my son, “If you just finish what you start, you’ll be ahead of most people.” And he suggested to my daughter, who stared down at her phone the whole time, that it’s good to engage with people, look them in the eye, and don’t stare down at your phone the whole time. I thought Stewart’s advice was spot on.
Three Important Lessons
It made me think … if I could choose only three things to tell my kids, what would those three things be? I’d love to know what your three things would be too.
Number one for me would be to trust God. I’ve seen the anxiety this pandemic has caused in our family – the fear, the concern, the boredom, the feeling of being locked down, and there is simply no answer other than trusting that God has a plan. And though I get criticized for sharing my feelings about this topic, it’s who I am. My intent is not to push it to you.
Too Much Stress
I can say that in my lifetime, I’ve stressed about things I never should have stressed about. I’ve worried, I’ve made myself sick, and when all was said and done, most of what I worried about never occurred. As I’ve matured, I’ve realized when I stop stressing and start assuming there is a plan, things work out better.
Since I’m limiting myself to three things, the next two are pretty hard to pick out of all the wisdom life has to offer. Therefore my number two is to pick a good mate, a life partner, and to learn to listen to and trust their instincts. In theory, they have your back more than any person on earth, and they can see things you cannot see. And they are usually willing to tell you things no one else will tell you. That’s why I tell my kids to be careful in your process, take your time, get to know someone deeply, and try to get beyond the infatuation. Some put more time into buying a car than picking a life mate. And though you need common interests and things to do together, the worst thing you can do is find a replica of yourself. Life is about balance, and this is one of the best things you can do to find balance and perspective. Of course, it’s not for everyone. No pressure.
What’s in Your Mind?
Now the pressure is on. What is number three?
It seems to me that most problems people have, most problems I have, boil down to self-esteem and self-talk. I’ve written about past experiences where I declined invites from world-famous people because I did not feel worthy. How sick is that? Yet, as I think about my friends, my relationships, and all the people in my life, the ones living the best lives tend to be the ones who have figured out how to have self-esteem. Therefore my best advice is to work on your self-esteem and conquer those issues with the tenacity of your entire being. Doing so impacts how you filter every word, every decision, and whether or not you enjoy your life.
I read the book Think and Grow Rich for the first time at 15 and the book Cyber Cybernetics at age 17. Both were life-changers. But I’ve battled these issues much of my life. We have little voices in the back of our brains that bring up insecurities rooted in something from our past, and that don’t even make logical sense. I resisted Tony Robbins because of his style and my perception that he was all motivation (I attended one of his very first seminars before he had developed the depth he has today), and I’ve since found he has a lot to offer. I’ve been to his events and will go to more.
Investing in your self-esteem is the best investment you can make. It’s better than Bitcoin because it influences every decision and direction in your life. And current literature on the topic has shown theories from the 1930s have turned out to be true: Your physiology is impacted by your thoughts.
Today I guard my thoughts like I would guard Fort Knox, because when they seep in as seeds they can grow into watermelons that disrupt your life. It’s a constant battle, one that never stops. The only difference between those who have self-esteem issues and those who don’t is that those who don’t have learned to recognize that our brains naturally default to negatives in order to protect us, and that we can overcome those thoughts.
Focus on these three, and life will be pretty amazing. Then there is much advice that will serve you well in other areas.
What about you?
PS: I used to tell myself I wanted to be an artist but was not good enough to do it, or I did not have the talent. That’s changed. And if that’s you, I can help you in many ways.
First, check out my free lessons called Paint by Note. I’ve taught thousands to paint, including people who knew they could not do it.
Second, sometimes life throws lemons and you have no choice but to make lemonade. Most of my income is reliant on a couple of big in-person events we do, and the biggest one was canceled this week. Thankfully to survive we created online summits, which are helping us survive, and they are helping people make massive art progress fast. The next one is called PleinAir Live
, and it’s coming in April.
Third, after deep study of learning, we’re employing what we’ve found to help people learn better, faster. We’re doing several top artist workshops employing this technique. Check it out and watch the video about SOAR workshops.