I found myself profoundly moved by Van Gogh’s story while visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The immediate impact was the sheer volume of work; work completed in spite of huge challenges.

van-gogh-work

Lesson 1 of 3: The body of work is what matters.

In spite of mental illness, social exclusion, lack of recognition and basic connectedness to others, Van Gogh continued to paint.

He focused on his work in spite of all the challenges.

I waste time agonising over past mistakes, regrets, loss, and the existential angst that is the downside of self-awareness. And yet there is work waiting to be done. Writing to do. Systems, processes, services to be improved and designed. There are people to connect with, to encourage, to support. And even the occasional drawings to do.

I waste energy comparing myself to others. When it doesn’t matter if I am extraordinarily talented or otherwise. Even the most mundane-seeming pieces, when collected into a body of work over time, becomes valuable  beyond the sum of its parts!

I also worry that people don’t get what I do, and that what I do is a waste of time and not good return on investment. But so what if some people don’t get what I do?!. They may never get what I do in my lifetime; or ever!

The body of work matters. I must keep creating in spite of the distractions.