By Dan Miller
What Will You Do With Your Blank Canvas?
When I was 13 years old, I painted a horse head with a paint-by-numbers layout. I thought it was pretty good, but now that I’ve seen some real masterpieces, I realize it was pretty amateurish. The paint was clumpy where I tried to stay inside the identified lines. It didn’t look real; it just looked like I did a good job of painting.
My wife, Joanne, on the other hand, has drawn some amazing pieces – always starting with a blank canvas and then allowing her imagination to direct her brush or pencil.
I realize now that life’s opportunities are presented to us in much the same way. If we paint by the numbers (take the first job, buy a certain kind of car, take two weeks’ vacation every year), we will see predictable results. You know what it’s going to be – and it might be good – but it will never be amazing to you or anyone else.
The only way to get a masterpiece is to start with a blank canvas. Of course, a blank canvas means you could end up with a disaster you decide to throw away. But the next one may be the masterpiece that makes the world remember you.
While you may think this is about willingness to take risks or that it’s a reflection of personality style, I think it’s more about dreaming, imagining, and taking action. And this is not just a business or career question; it’s more a question of the kind of life you want to live.
Think of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Bono, Oprah, Rick Warren, Howard Schultz or Billy Graham. Their personality styles cover the entire range of possibilities, and we would not consider them risk-takers in the sense of being people who’d go bungee jumping or hang gliding. All of them had big dreams, started with a blank canvas and then took action to create their unique masterpieces.
Success is never an accident. It typically starts as imagination, becomes a dream, stimulates a goal and grows into a plan of action – which then meets with opportunity.
You get to choose what you’re creating of your life. What will it turn out to be?
This article was originally posted at: Relevant Magazine
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