Silvia Hartmann just wrote this on a mailing list, and she has permitted me to post it here.
I just heard some really bad advice from my good dead friend, Bob Ross.
And it made me want to make a public comment about that because I think he's not the only one to suffer from this misconception.
Bob said, "I advise everyone to remain constantly dissatisfied with everything you do. Because if you are constantly dissatisfied with what you're doing, that'll make you try harder and do better next time, and you never stop learning and growing that way."
Now the fact is that I've heard this sentiment expressed by many others and in many different ways before, and I think that's appalling.
What is all that learning and growing FOR, if you are constantly dissatisfied and disappointed with what you've already achieved? This leads to nothing but a life filled with DISSAPPOINTMENT - like a donkey running after a carrot tied by a stick to its head and which it can never reach, no matter how hard it runs itself into exhaustion.
You might as well just stop altogether and save yourself all that trouble and be just as dissatisfied and disappointed, without doing anything at all!
To "honour the work of the day" is one of the most important lessons I've personally ever learned.
I think it might have been a poem I found that I wrote many years ago by accident one day, and it was superb. I couldn't have done any better today, not after 25 years of studying language, experience, internal representations, state and metaphor in a professional capacity.
The thing was that I remembered writing it, and *being entirely dissatisfied with it* at the time. Angry. Horribly dissappointed with my "failure" to make the poem work.
That started me thinking that the things I do today are probably not as bad as I think they are either, and that I'm doing *some thing* in my head to devalue my efforts of the day.
Which is completely de-motivational and only leads to an ongoing sense of failure, regardless of how amazing your achievements might actually be.
Only success, in the end, leads to more success.
Success calls more success to it, and in the case of activities, such as building a business or painting a picture, it is the road to pure, unadulterated misery if we keep judging things to be faulty and full of failure, one way or the other.
You look for the good, and you'll find the good.
We all need to learn to look for the good, firstly in our own endeavours, and then let that spread out to the endeavours of others around us.
There is no other way to get ourselves and our civilisations out of the HELL we have constructed for our own selves, and for each other.
Look for success. Encourage EVERY success, then success will grow, will be right at home with you, and you'll go from strength to strength, without any fear of failure.
That's a complete fact and a real truth about our lives and the work we produce.
And I thought that was so important, I wrote an essay about it today in preference to doing anything else.
Success to all, and in all ways, Silvia Hartmann