We live in a world that is always looking for something. When I lived in New York City, the joke always was that you are always doing at least one of three things in the city that never sleeps. Sometimes, even all at the same time.
The three things are:
#1 You are looking for your next apartment.
#2 You are looking for your next job.
#3 You are looking for true love.
It is always something isn’t it?
Every day we work to “get” paid. We “get” in our cars to “get” to work. Let’s not forget the networking event to “get” noticed. After we “get” noticed perhaps we will “get” that promotion. After we leave work we “get” groceries or “get” take-out.
Let’s shift that thought for a second. What do you give? What is it about you that you are freely sharing with this world? What is it about you that brings something valuable to the world? Do you volunteer for a cause you are passionate about? Do you paint because it brings you joy and happiness? Do you write? Do you sing? Do you dance?
Recently, I was in Paris over the Thanksgiving holiday and I did a walking tour of Montmartre. During this tour, a sentence that the tour guide said caught my attention as if he was yelling it to my spirit. “Van Gogh did not see his success. He died before he became an International well-known painter.” After researching his life, I learned that while he was alive he only sold one painting. One. That’s it. The painting is now at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and it’s called “Red Vineyard at Arles.” His other paintings that are well over 900 were not made famous until after his death. I am so happy that Van Gogh didn’t say, “I should really make some money and stop painting. Maybe I should go get a real job.” Imagine, what a loss that would have been to our world.
What does this teach us? While Van Gogh was a gifted artist, there is something special in everyone. There is a gift we can GIVE to the world. What are you giving without expectation? The Van Gogh story is not just about achievement, success, and the millions of dollars that his art is worth after his death. After all, in life Van Gogh died broke and without an ear. If we look a little closer, the message behind this story was that he HAD to paint. He did it freely with no expectations because he just couldn’t stop painting. What inside of you HAS to happen? What do you HAVE to give? Inside of you there is a Van Gogh.
Let’s change the conversation from what can we “get” out of this situation to what can we give. Our world would definitely be a happier and more peaceful place if we share what we MUST without any expectation of money, fame, or recognition.
In the words of Vincent Van Gogh: “Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on Earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.” What do you do/give with passion?