create and silence your doubt…a life tip from Vincent Van Gogh

VVG does great things for me.  I love that he once painted a chair. Just a chair. A worthless chair. But he captured the “isness” of it so gloriously that it became a work of art worth an incomprehensible fortune.

This quote, though, takes things up a notch:


“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent van Gogh

Now, how grand is that!? Doubts emerge about things we care about. This is a good thing to recognise. We don’t doubt whether we can tie a shoelace. We doubt big, important, visceral things that are integral to our being and our uniqueness.

My doubts overwhelm me. Boy! I’m stalled almost hourly by them. You would’ve gathered that by now. But I’m learning that when I doubt something in me, it means it matters. And that my doubt – that voice within – is really just calling out so I listen to what matters…that I attend to it.

That’s point one.

Point two: we rise beyond the doubt by meeting it with it’s counterpoint. My fear that my writing is shit (which pipes up EVERY SINGLE DAY)  is only overcome by engaging in the writing…toiling and tinkering and improving. I’m only JUST learning this. I’m learning to recognise the struggle that goes on. That it’s not a struggle that’s trying to break me. It’s one to rise up to. We run our best when there’s someone to race against. I make my most coherent points at a dinner party attended by big minds.

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