Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Picasso Principle

There’s a story (true or false, I don’t know) about the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.

It seems a woman came up to him and asked him to sketch something on a piece of paper.
He sketched it, and gave it back to her saying: “That will cost you $10,000″.

She was astounded. “You took just five minutes to do the sketch,” she said. Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes work?

“The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years,” Picasso retorted.
And of course, we’re all horrified when someone tells us it may take several months, even years to be successful in our business. We know better, but we still fall for the super-duper-trap of ‘learn how I made $4 million in 24 hours.” We still want to know the quick and easy way of doing things.

Next time someone gives you that crappy pitch of how one tweet made them $7000, or how they made $2 million, or how they have twenty thousand surfboards, remember the Picasso Principle. That they’re hiding the years of toil and slog. And that you will end up paying the $10,000— only to find out that hard work is indeed inevitable.

Live the Problem

Be willing to make yourself uncomfortable. You have to hurt to grow, it’s been said, and in life just as in weightlifting and distance running, that certainly is what I’ve seen. The things that hurt most, help most. Trying to dodge problems only deepens them—and makes you feel worse for not having the courage to confront them.

I’ve read that the Greeks believed the greatest of all virtues was courage, because courage made all the others possible. That ancient wisdom has always felt right to me.

Harry Beckwith, author of You Inc