Picasso: to succeed you have to do

I was recently in the Museo Pablo Picasso in Malaga. For those of you who don’t know, Picasso was from Malaga and the Picasso Foundation set up the museum as he had always wanted a permanent exhibition of his work in his ‘home’ city.

It is an interesting exposition, as much for the quotes attributed to Picasso that appear on the walls at various points throughout the various galleries. Picasso is one of those artists, like or dislike his work, there is absolutely no doubt that he was a seminal and influential artist who continues to provoke and inspire.

The quote from Picasso that most caught my eye was the following:

 It is what one does that counts, not what one had the intentions of doing

 A simple phrase, but it encapsulates so much of what holds people back in life. When you talk to people about their hopes, dreams and goals you often find that people have incredible ambition for themselves and their futures. However when you ask what they are actually DOING to make their intentions become real, you most often find that the answer is nothing, or almost nothing.

When exploring the reason why this is the case, it is often apparent that they have created rich stories about why they can’t start now. The time isn’t right, I’m going to do it tomorrow, I’m waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

You can have all the intentions in the world, but like Picasso says, it is what you DO that counts. Goals without actions are simply dreams and no one ever succeeded with a dream alone. Dreams have to be made real through action. What is the point of aspiring to a future self that fills you with excitement and passion, if you are not going to take any steps towards making the vision reality?

So what intentions do you need to make real?

There is no magic to how you do this:

  •  Break your goal down into realistic manageable activities (you may have heard the expression – How do you eat an elephant? Answer – a piece at a time.
  • Do something today, tomorrow, the next day, no matter how insignificant you think it might be. Everything you accomplish contributes towards you realising your goal.
  • Keep going. Take the British Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty – when asked about his training, he said it was hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed at 4am on a cold, dark, winter morning in order to go to the pool to swim massive distances. However, he acknowledged that doing these ‘hard yards’ was where he earned his medal. Standing on the podium with a gold medal, you’d find it difficult to argue with him. Don’t duck the hard yards.

As the list of what you have done grows, you are nearer to where you want to be and further away from where you started. If you do nothing, you are in a world of nice thoughts, no execution – which ultimately leads to regret. We most regret what we have not done, rather than what we tried.

Nelson Mandella had a great way of thinking about endeavours he started:

 I either win or learn

If you don’t try, you will do neither. The results are then predictable, you don’t win and you have no insight into how you can move forward.

This is not a view that doesn’t have strong foundations. Networks like LinkedIn are full of stories about entrepreneurs having ideas and trying to make them work. If they aren’t successful, they learn and move on to the next idea. What they achieve – satisfaction that they are DOING, learning things that will help them to be more successful and occasionally succeeding with their ideas. Remember every career, product or service started as an idea that someone had which they were prepared to fully commit to. It is not solely about money – not for profits start this way too.

If you are not working on your big goals and dreams, what is your excuse for not trying? If you need help to resolve whatever it is that is holding you back, why not speak to a coach. You cannot #AccomplishSomething if you don’t #StartSomething or #ChangeSomething.