Picasso’s Top 7 Tips for Creating an Exciting Life

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.”

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor and creator in many creative fields. He's perhaps the most well-known painter from all of the 20:th century.

He also had some interesting things to say about life. Here are my 7 favourite tips from him.

1. You have to believe to be able to do.

“He can who thinks he can, and he can't who thinks he can't. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.”

This is a great quote because it doesn't just say that you should “believe in yourself!. It explains why you need to believe in yourself and your ability to do something to actually do it.

The funny thing is that it's hard to see how much your beliefs control your performance and how you see your world when you are used at looking at things from just one perspective.

When you think you can do something instead of not your perception of that thing changes. And your perception of yourself too. Without those changed perspectives it will be hard to find the courage, motivation, enthusiasm and whatever else you may need. And then there are self-fulfilling prophecies.

If you think you'll fail you are likely to hold you self back or even trip yourself up (sometimes unconsciously). If you on the other hand think you can do something your mind will start to find solutions and focus on fixing things instead of whining about them. From all of the stimuli around you things, solutions and opportunities will just start to pop up. Without that focus on the right thing, on your ability to do, your mind may not find the resources and solutions that are needed.

2. Push your limits.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Pushing yourself and stretching is necessary to grow. And the more you push yourself the quicker you can grow.

But it can be scary. My best tip so far: stay present as much as you can while doing something you cannot yet do.

This can greatly decrease possible negative feelings that are holding you back. And with those feelings out of your mind and body it becomes easier to focus, to feel positive feelings and actually perform well and learn to do whatever you have set your mind upon.

For tips on that check out 8 Ways to Return to the Present Moment. My three favourites among that bunch are at the moment: focus on what's right in front of you, pick up the vibe from present people (I listen to Eckhart Tolle cds very often) and focusing on your breathing.

3. Don't wait for inspiration or the right moment.

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”

Inspiration can show up on its own, waltzing in through a door or a window. But doing things that way makes work inconsistent – both in quality and quantity – and you spend a lot of time waiting.

I find that it's better to follow Pablo's suggestion and just start working. For the first minutes what you do may suck quite a bit and it's hard going. But after a while inspiration seems to catch up with you. Things start to flow easier and your work is of a higher quality.

If you feel inspired one day that's great. Use your inspiration. But don't limit yourself to the moments where you feel inspired or you feel like the moment is just right to do something. Act instead. A lot of the time you can find inspiration along the way. Or accomplish whatever you want to do despite the moment not looking just as you would like it to.

4. Act.

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

I know. If you have been reading this blog for a while you may have noticed that taking action is included in a lot of the articles. But that's because, as Picasso says, action is the foundation. Without taking action any information – no matter how useful – will be pretty useless. This is also the part of personal growth or just life that is often forgotten or perhaps avoided.

It's scary. It can feel difficult to do it. Or you may not feel like it's the right moment now. But developing a habit of taking more and more action can make a huge difference. Have a look at How to Take More Action for help to develop such a habit.

5. Ask the right questions.

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

It's easy to ask yourself the wrong questions. To ask yourself questions that just will give you answers that confirm that you are incompetent, foolish, wrong and tell you that your future is limited. Questions that will sink you instead of help to lift you up.

So instead, ask yourself empowering questions.

When having a seemingly negative experience ask yourself: what is good about this? What can I learn from this? There is always something you can learn and have use for to create positive experiences later on.

When interacting with others ask yourself: How can I bring even more value (understanding, help, practical solutions, fun, excitement etc.) to this interaction?

In just about any situation you can always ask yourself: what's great about this situation/experience? This is a quick way to shift your mood and thoughts into more positive, resourceful and empowered forms through gratitude.

There are of course many more empowering questions you can ask yourself. I think the main point is to reframe the questions you ask yourself into positive questions that open up – instead of closes – the door to opportunities and possibilities.

6. See the hidden beauty by not judging.

“If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”

One of big advantages of becoming more present in your everyday life is that you decrease the amount of analyzing and labeling you do to the things/people in your surroundings. You don't judge as much.

This might sound strange but in the moments when you are present the ordinary world becomes more interesting and wonderful. Colors can seem brighter. Your see more aliveness in trees, nature and in people. You see the wonder of all your man-made gadgets and stuff. Things that most often seem common, routine and boring become fascinating and something you can appreciate.

It's like you are observing your world with more clarity and curiousness. Like a little kid again, discovering things while they still feel fresh. Before they have just become walking, talking and growing labels with years of associations and thoughts attached.

This is a bit like the first tip in this article. Before you actually use it – if you just think about it in your mind – it may not make that much sense. I highly recommend reading/listening to Eckhart Tolle to gain a deeper understanding of being present. He and Oprah are doing free 90 minute talks about his book A New Earth right now. Check out the book and those webcasts.

7. It's not too late.

“Youth has no age.

Don't let social conditioning tell you what you can or cannot do just because you are of one age or another. Age is most of the time just in your head anyway. Take tip #1 into consideration and choose for yourself what you can do. And use tip # 6 and ask yourself the right questions instead of ones that limit you.

And, remember, the present moment s all there ever is anyway. So don't get caught up in the past too much. Most of the time you really don't have to act consistently with what you have done before. If you do, then that's your choice. And you can decide to do something different too. Right now.

It is really only too late to change if you look at your life as a time-line. If you learn to become more present, if you learn to live more in the now, much of that thinking just falls away. You realize that you can consciously choose and do pretty much whatever you like in the present moment and built a future with new possibilities.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Arno Nühm

    If you really want to seize the day and make the most out of your life, why are you reading this blurb? Get a life.

  • @Arno — agreed, but because I scan del.icio.us everyday, and this was a top hit.

    @Noa Rose Choose the Present — your comment that “many were equally if not more talented” is singularly the most ill-informed comment regarding modern art that I have ever heard. Picasso, if he wanted, could paint in the “style” of just about any other painter, and he often did, by age 17. The opposite cannot be said. His genius was unparalleled during his time, and matched only by his ego.

  • I definitely like the #6 quote. I have a problem with this most of the time but just reading that quote it just stuck with me! Overall nice list.

  • Just a simple tip can make your life very exciting! and this is passion and everything you make passionately!

  • Great stuff! Picasso was really ahead of his time. Just look at all the management boooks which pick up these remarks.

  • Amazing post! Thank you very much for this profound wisdom.

  • These are all so true, though not always easy to stand by. I can attest to the usefulness of seeing the hidden beauty by not judging. I drive the same road five days a week to work, and it is never the same twice. One day, I might focus on the sunrise and how the golden rays light up the clouds in amazing pinks and reds.

    In the book The Power of Attitude by Mac Anderson, I read about Jim Valvano (former NC State basketball coach) who was awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage in 1993 after being diagnosed with cancer. Jim said, “I urge all of you to enjoy your life. Every precious moment you have on this earth. Spend each day with some laughter. Don’t be afraid to feel… to get your emotions going. Be enthusiastic, because nothing great can be accomplished without enthusiasm. Live your dreams.”

  • Do not wait inspiration, or correct moment – really large advice You will be much happier and are successful, if you afford to remain a young internal part. Не can, who thinks, that it can, and it can not, who thinks, that it can not. It – unshakable, indisputable law, which I owe колебать this anxiety and allow my true energy, will leave. I only should continue to release it in small increments, because, if I open a gate of flood, I am afraid, that it could be too much for me to address.
    I ask to excuse me for bad knowledge of the English language

  • …You have to believe to be able to do…

    Words to live by, amazing wisdom.

  • Hello. Great job. I did not expect this today. This is a great story. Thanks!

  • I am a big fan of Picasso. The man was wise and not all great artists are necessarily wise also. His persona was huge and powerful. Picasso was an icon. He said his mother told him he could have been Napoleon or the Pope but he was Picasso.

  • I am a big fan of Picasso. The man was wise and not all great artists are necessarily wise also. His persona was huge and powerful. Picasso was an icon. He said his mother told him he could have been Napoleon or the Pope but he was Picasso.

  • Hi, I just found your blog via Bing. Your article is truly relevant to my life at this moment, and I’m really happy I discovered your website.

  • Don’t wait for inspiration… Act… these are great tips for overcoming procrastination! Good article for helping get out of the rut many of us are in.