Silence The Voice of Doubt by DOING

By Jenny Hansen

Van Gogh

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. Vinny vG.

Yep, that “Vinny vG” was a do-er. [That’s Vincent van Gogh to the rest of us, in case you hadn’t met him before.]

I stumbled across Danny Gregory’s post, Vinnie’s Balls. (No surprise I clicked on that title) and it’s truly fantastic. Danny went to a show in Amsterdam that chronicled the process of Van Gogh’s work. Not the results. Not the thirty year artist who’s an overnight success. THE PROCESS.

The day in and day out of doing. The thankless, daunting, often-lonely journey of building your talent, canvas by canvas…story by story…goal by goal.

Everyone hates putting in the 10,000 hours it takes to master a skill. Okay, maybe not everyone… Maybe that’s just me.

I spend a lot of my “goal roadtrip” hanging my head out the window, my tongue flapping in the breeze, while I ask whoever’s around:

Are we there yet?

The smart ones look at me and say: We’re NOT freaking there yet. Sit your a$$ down and write. Or teach a class, or read a book, or play with your kid. You’ll be there when you get there. Geesh. Less jabbering, more doing!

My really smart pals follow up with me and ask me if I’m writing (or whatever the goal is that day/week/month). They don’t ask what I’m writing. They don’t ask if I’ve finished. They ask if I’ve continued, because the courage to approach the page is what leads you to “The End.”

Cliches stay in our language because they nearly always hold tons of truth. Here’s some examples:

If we all DID the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves. (Thomas Edison)


Your dreams ARE very important. (Zig Ziglar)


A journey of a thousand miles DOES begin with a single step. (Chinese philosopher, Laozi)

Very true.

The achievement of your dearest wish will take thousands of hours. The tragedy of Van Gogh’s life is that he stopped believing. My favorite part of Danny Gregory’s post is this:

Great art isn’t scary and imposing and “Important”. It’s personal and full of feeling. At some point, van Gogh gave up making paintings to be sold — that seemed like it would never happen. Instead he made so many paintings because he had to, he wanted to, he had problems to unravel and the world around him was beautiful and cried out to him to be embraced.

Whether it’s a marathon, a competition, a painting or a novel…the next time you get tired of the process, remember it takes time. (Which in my mind translates to ‘WAY TOO LONG.’)

Don’t listen to me…I’m way too impatient. Heed the advise of my wise, hard-working pals: You’ll be there when you get there. Less jabbering, more DOING!

What do the voices in your head say as you chase your passion? Do you listen to it? What keeps you motivated as you pursue your dreams? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2014 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

Van Gogh photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

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