Many a big concept is made up of small details, much as a painting is the sum of numerous tiny brushstrokes. If you want to change your life, to succeed with issues where you have been failing, then you need to start paying attention to the smaller baby steps.
To wish for a better relationship is too vague to work – it will (probably) only ever remain a wish. You need to get re-involved at a new level in each tiny brushstroke of the relationship, every sentence of communication exchange (touch, gift, service, word or gesture). Make the details conform to your desired painting (outcome) and you will start to see a new picture emerge from the dismay.
Why not add in the simple “I love you” brushstroke to your life. Make a point of saying more often to those around you.
Family members a problem? Well, you should re-read my newsletter of a couple of weeks ago, about the moments before dying…Don’t wait for the deathbed scene! Everyone, as they are dying, wants to bring the family around them and forgive everybody and be forgiven. Nothing wrong with that, except WHY WAIT?
If it’s a job to be done, do it NOW! That way you can have more years of comfort and delight on earth, with those you love or once loved. It’s a harvest of goodness, instead of meager sproutings at the eleventh hour.
No problem. Just re-do the brushstroke. It does not violate the picture! Don’t let it. You can overpaint a patch of the wrong paint on a canvas; you can do the same with your life. But trying to re-do the entire picture from the same perspective would be too difficult.
Having to do everything all at once is difficult. To change ALL your life doesn’t work. A friend recently lost a sweet girl he loved. He wasn’t listening and she kept telling him her concerns, but he wouldn’t listen. He was “busy”, he had “responsibilities”. Quite true but that’s not what a lover wants to hear!
So she quit. All of a sudden, he wanted to change his whole life, get an apartment together; he would devote himself to her…
Too late! She wasn’t listening any more. But if he had concentrated on a few tiny brushstrokes, things would have been different: like listening when she said she wasn’t happy living with parents or that she wanted to go on a simple romantic vacation together.
Now I’m not judging. But Vivien and I did watch this scenario play out and we could see it was almost inevitable. They were lovely together at first but then the picture turned sour.
The sad thing is the lady wasn’t making huge demands (not like some women we know, eh!) But he missed the important cues.
Don’t let your picture gradually turn from a masterpiece to a dowdy old canvas. Do something!
Get a mind brush and start painting sweeter detail in your life, from today.
You have to change something, otherwise life does not improve. However trying to make enormous earthquake-type changes is not easy and definitely not the best way to go about things.
Make small changes and get those integrated, before adding in another change, and so on.
There is another aspect of working in small chunks: morale.
If you have a totally scruffy garden, where you can’t keep on top of growth, weeds, pests and untidiness, that can be demoralizing. But if you take one small portion of that garden and prune, clean, weed and tidy it up, so that it looks very nice, your morale will improve just a little. Maybe a lot, because you can see to the next phase and tidying that up too. By planning, phase by phase, to remedy the situation you can enjoy the morale of having matters under control, while not yet finished!
See how the logic works?
Here’s a little garden I created for myself after my first wife left suddenly. It started as a field, no plants! The square patches all came about because I measured off one small square at a time and turned it into something pretty. I grew this little back yard paradise, brushstroke at a time. It took about 3 years and, you know what? Every new patch added made me feel a little bit happier! I grew back to life with the flowers, shrubs and trees.
A small piece done well brings much higher morale than hard-to-measure progress along many fronts. If you are musician, this takes on a different aspect. It is far more satisfying to learn one piece of music and play it really well than to learn dozens of tunes to an indifferent standard.
The Scots have an oaty saying: Mony a mickle maks a muckle. In plain English, lots of little things go to make up big things. The proverb has a lot to do with economy, meaning if you waste pennies, soon you will waste much more; conversely, if you save the pennies, you’ll soon have a lot of money.
That’s the Scots for you. But it is a broad proverb with a lot of wisdom. It applies to life. A superb painting is made up of lots of brush strokes, none of which in themselves are interesting or special. But the overall picture can be magnificent.
Buffet was the richest man in the world at the time I first wrote this piece (1994) and without doubt the most successful investor of all time. He is quoted as saying: “ I don’t look for seven-foot bars to leap over; I look for one-foot bars to step over”.
To me that is yet another restatement of the brushstroke principle.
Women Have Always Known This
You can dye your hair a different color and totally change how you feel about yourself. Even flat shoes to high heels – you feel more elegant, more sexy, your posture changes into something that makes you sassy. These are just brush strokes.
Men will change their ties! Sometimes we change our shoes or jacket but not much. Male clothing is conservative compared to womens’ flamboyant fashions. We are not as daring as women, who will change anything to alter how they feel about themselves.
Enough With The Burning Bushes!
You can move mountains if you do it a little at a time. Work with this practical and powerful philosophy in your life.
The trouble is, people are wedded the epiphany idea, the burning bush, that sudden moment of awed inspiration when the voice speaks from on high and you hear something that changes your life in a flash.
People pay good money to go on courses to learn to set fire to bushes! No, I’m kidding. But gurus tell tall stories about amazing and instant transformations. It’s bunk! Such flash-bangs do not usually sustain.
The greatest painting or symphony in the world is made up of lots of brush dabs or a string of thousands of separate notes. Nobody, not even Mozart, wrote a symphony in an afternoon, or painted a masterpiece in one big flash!
That’s good. Because it might be daunting to change our lives all at once. But anyone, however timid, can paint over a picture, brush stroke at a time…
To find out more effective and successful ways to make inspiring and permanent changes in your life, using this brushstroke principle, consider getting onto my Your New Life In a Box program. It’s written for you and others like you!
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In any event, I wish you some wonderful mental gardening with your inner shrubs and flowers!
Out with the weeds!
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor