A few days ago, I visited the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibition in London and I was very inspired. There were many things to take away from that experience; but the two that struck me the most, were:
- Learning that Van Gogh started painting at 26, and in 10 years (he died at 36), he made over 2000 pieces of art. 2000 pieces in 10 years, that’s insane! Right now, some of his art is worth over 80 million dollars. I remember reading that fact during the exhibition and thinking to myself, that indeed, (a) you can start at any time. You can figure out what you want to spend your life doing in your own time - at 18, at 21, at 26, even at 36; honestly, even at 50. (b) in the end, it’s not about the length of your days, but how you spend them.
- One of his quotes
“If you hear a voice within, saying that you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. ”
I connect very deeply to this quote because so many times I am plagued with self-doubt. I want to do something but I don’t think I can. I have these amazing ideas but then get scared and doubt my ability to execute them. I want to create more content, but I don’t think I can do it. I think, it probably won’t be good enough, or the video won’t get any views, or this or that.
But Van Gogh said ‘if you hear that voice that says you can’t do it then go ahead and do it. And when you do it, that voice will be silenced". What I love most about the quote is that it recognizes that we will have self-doubt, that there will probably always be a voice saying that we can’t do it or that it won’t work; but in the same breathe, after acknowledging the voice, it says, that when you go ahead and do that thing, it hushes that voice. When you go ahead and you write, create, act, sing, record that podcast, do whatever it is that the voices in your head, that the naysayers say you can’t do, those voices will be silenced.
It also reminds me of two quotes from the War of Art by Steven Pressfield (my favourite book):
1. It’s not the work that is hard, it is getting started that is hard.
2. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. We become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings, ideas come and insights accrete.
Instead of waiting for inspiration or motivation; instead of waiting for a time when we are not plagued by self-doubt or when we are not afraid before we start, we just should go ahead and start anyway. And oh gosh! But when we do start; when we go ahead and say I’d do this thing right now - at that moment, power concentrates around us. I have lived this too many times not to be a believer.