When I first started watercolors, I went to an artist message board and scoured it for talent. I specifically looked for artists with links in their signature so I could see their works.
If I thought their works were subpar, I didn’t listen to a word they said. However, if I thought that they executed well and had tons of quality experience, I was all ears.
One of the older gents said one regret he had in the beginning is he wish he spent more time drawing and less time painting.
It’s funny. Now that I’ve been painting for years, I’ve found that painting is the easy part.
The challenge? Nailing the drawing.
Same thing with life
I had a co-worker, bless her heart, who would always give me unsolicited relationship advice. She was divorced twice and is currently in a highly dysfunctional relationship.
So I smiled, nodded, and let every word she said go in one ear and out the other. I remember at best 1% of what she said.
Now co-workers, you’re supposed to get along with them, even if they’re morons. A company doesn’t work if people argue all the time.
So I got really good at smiling and nodding, and letting everything someone said go in one ear and out the other.
That pesky neighbor
When I was young, I had a neighbor who didn’t know shit about anything. But he had a generation of life experience on me so he wanted to feel good about himself.
He would ramble on about life, finances, and everything else. But even as a teenager, I knew he was a loser at pretty much everything.
So since he was my neighbor, I would smile and nod but I wouldn’t take a word he said seriously.
I hadn’t yet learned to let things go in one ear and out the other so to this day, I still remember some of the bullshit he said. Like for instance, he said that if you pay even 1c of your bill, they can’t take it back or shut it off because you made an effort to pay it.
Yes, he seriously said that.
Imagine if I believed what he said and tried it. So for my car payment, rather than $300 or whatever it was at the time, I’d send one penny. Do you think the dealership would think “wow! Roman’s a great guy and he’s really trying to pay his bills but can’t. So we’ll let him keep the car.”
Nope. They’d take it back.
People love to feel important
For some odd reason, I’ve found that the less someone has accomplished, the more they want to feel like their advice is good.
You’ll see people who are genuinely good at life who remain silent and you have to pry info out of them. Then the folks who suck at everything won’t shut up about how much they know.
When you’re young, this can be very misleading. That’s why we often take advice from the absolute wrong people.
I had another neighbor who was divorced three times. Not once. Not twice. But three times. And you’d often hear her fighting with her fourth husband.
One day, she went up to my son and told him “for your first marriage, marry for love.”
For your first marriage? So, you already admit that it’s doomed to failure? Wonderful advice. (Insert eye roll emoji here).
Some advice is excellent
Sometimes though, you’ll find a gem. Some folks really know what the heck they’re talking about and aren’t talking out of their asses.
You’ll know these people because you can look at their accomplishments and think “wow! This guy really knows his shit!”
For instance, I went three years without working with a personal trainer. I knew I’d need some touch-ups on my form for squats and deadlifts.
I saw this chick with a smoking hot body demonstrate her weightlifting techniques. She made a lot of online howto videos. And we happened to be in Vegas so I dropped her a line, paid in cash, and had her correct my squats and deadlifts form. She also consulted my wife.
Was she an excellent teacher? Of course! Judge folks by their accomplishments. She knew health and fitness 10x better than I did, so I was all ears and no mouth.
So going back to watercolor, that’s why I only listened to people who were good. If you got a jaw dropping portfolio, I’m all ears! I want to hear everything you say and steal your concepts.
And that’s exactly what I did. That’s why I advanced so fast in watercolors. I listened to the right people and only the right people. I never took advice from anyone who sucked. I simply ignored every single word they said.
Apply that to life.
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