Hands down, one of the most inspiring passages I’ve ever read is below. It is a letter that was written by our brother-in-law to his sweet girls, and are words I will never forget. His message on the power of passion is one that I hope we all can draw from as we head into the New Year. Instead of just saying 2015 will be our life-changing year, let’s apply what he teaches below and actually MAKE 2015 the best year of our lives!!
Who is your favorite visual artist? For me, one of my favorites is Akiane.
Akiane is considered by many to be a child prodigy. She began drawing at the age of 4. One of her most famous paintings is called, “The Prince of Peace” which she painted at 8 years old. 8 years old! Many consider this remarkable, and by no doubt it is. Many may also misunderstand what her genius really is.
What do you think her genius is? For me, her genius has nothing to do with her artistic ability. For me, her genius is her passion for art.
Researchers and scientist have discovered that to become world class at anything – painting, playing a musical instrument, dancing, gymnastics, singing, acting, being an entrepreneur – takes 10,000 hours of practice. This idea applies to almost everything.
What are you already a world-class expert at? For one, you are an expert at walking. Babies are passionate about getting around and exploring their world. They work everyday practicing. And because they fail a lot – tripping and falling and bonking their head – the learn a lot too. You and I and all babies invest thousands of hours in learning to walk.
Now it’s sooo easy for us to walk that it’s a miracle that we are often blind to in our everyday lives. Yet to a baby we can appear to be virtuosos, just like how Akiane appears to me and may appear to you in painting.
For me, Akiane’s great genius is her passion to do art. It’s that passion that brought her to pencil and paper for hours each day when she was four. It was that passion that brought her for hours each day to her canvas when she was five. When something is our passion like that it’s not work, it’s joyfulness. It’s bliss. In my mind those 10,000 hours must have passed for her quickly. She learned and became a world class expert automatically because of her passion, not because of a unique talent in eye hand coordination, an “artistic eye”, or anything else.
This is a beautiful reality. It means that each of us is a prodigy! When we discover and live in our passion day in and out we will automatically become and develop the expertise we desire.
Here’s the recipe. 1. Discover what brings you great joy to do. Give yourself permission to try new things for a while, and if it turns out not to be joyful for you, consider why and if it’s the right thing to do, try something else. 2. Practice and do that every day, as regularly and often and for as long as possible. 3. Give yourself permission to fall and trip, just as we did when learning to walk. Our growth comes from falling without failing.
One of my greatest hopes is that you both will find your bliss. Papa discovered his genius and has lived his bliss of flying for all of his life. He literally is one of the world’s best aviators. Uncle Chris discovered his genius and lived his bliss of fitness for all of his life. He is literally one the world’s best weight-loss specialists in the world.
I am glad to serve you in your journeys to discover and live and be in your bliss. I’m excited and looking forward to seeing where life takes you. It’s a life worth living!