I recently attended the breathtaking Vincent Van Gogh immersive experience that’s touring the country, and a quote on display from the master craftsman stopped me in my tracks. It’s in reference to Van Gogh’s love of painting outdoors, in the scenic countryside:
“I have trouble painting because of the wind, but I fix my easel to pegs stuck in the ground and work anyway, it’s too beautiful.”
It’s a poignant reminder to all of us that despite the difficulties and ugliness we’re all facing in the world today, you can’t let adversity hold you back from living the life you want to live – one filled with beauty and wonder. To cheat yourself of this is too high a price to pay. Keep hardships in context by first anchoring yourself to something that steadies you (like your values, your family, your purpose). Doing so fuels your will to keep going in the face of obstacles, freeing you to experience this incredible life unhindered.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
Now from an artist of a different kind – the greatest shooter in pro-basketball history, Stephen Curry, who teaches a lesson on building deep self-confidence. He has recently been going through a mysterious shooting slump, but he lives by the motto that the next one is going in, so he just keeps shooting. What gives him this unswerving confidence? As Curry told reporters: “The reason I can go 0-for-11 in one game and come back the next game and have a breakout kind of performance is because the work will show eventually.”
And if you, too, commit to put in the work, it will show eventually – even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. All too often, I’ve seen people make the mistake of underestimating the power of just putting…the…work…in. It’s far easier not to. Excuses and circumstances give us an out. But over and over I’ve experienced it – if you want to maintain confidence that you’ll perform to your best and achieve your goals, there is no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and doing the things others don’t do enough of. Repeatedly. So, fall in love with the process of getting there. Do the work, and it will work out over time.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
A question I often get from managers of others is “What’s the right balance between giving positive feedback and criticism?” To which I respond, “Use the 5:1 Rule.” Research shows that for every 1 piece of constructive criticism you offer, you should balance it with 5 pieces of reinforcing, positive feedback. Remember, we do far more right than wrong as human beings, and want to be reminded as such. The exception might be with long standing relationships between a boss and employee, where closer to a 1:1 ratio is acceptable because of the trust levels established. But even then, what’s wrong with erring on the side of more frequent positive reinforcement?