Giving Up On Your Dreams Can Sometimes Lead to Death and Destruction

IMG_0436Too many people in the world give up on their passions and dreams too early. The closets and back rooms of folks from every socio-economic background include dusty saxophone cases, unused canvases, unopened art supplies, unused tools, unread books, and old exercise bikes with 2.4 miles on the odometer.  Giving up on these dreams can be devastating to individuals, but it can also have disastrous results around the world. One young man from history desperately dreamed of becoming an artist, but he gave up too soon and took another path. His name was Adolph Hitler.

As a young man, Adolph Hitler applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and endured a two day entrance exam where his drawing and painting techniques were evaluated. However, he did not pass the entrance exam. Upon receiving devastating news, he went to the school and demanded an explanation. He was told, in no uncertain terms, that his drawings and artistic works demonstrated that he had a lack of talent for artistic painting, especially when it related to the human form.

Hitler was devastated and vowed to develop his skills and reapply the next year. However, in the next year, he found it difficult to practice his art because of his mother’s illness and death and was often known for abandoning his artistic projects before they were completed. Hitler did reapply the next year at the Fine Arts Academy, but was not even allowed to take the final artistic exam.

Hitler soon became homeless for a time on the streets of Vienna, finally moving into a homeless shelter where he sold his paintings to Jewish merchants. Soon, Adoph Hitler left Vienna in order to join the German military. It is said that on the day war was declared that he fell to his knees and thanked heaven.

Steven Pressfield, in The War of Art, makes the following point about Hitler’s life and art:  “Call it an overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.”

Don’t give up on your art. Don’t give in to comfort and ease. Pursue it passionately. Pray for direction and work like your life, and mine, depended on it.

Tired Of My Own Excuses

ExcusesI belong to a fitness club. It’s right next to my office. When I say “right next” I don’t mean “right next door,” I mean it’s in the same building as my office. When I enter the offices, I have to walk right past their front door. And yet, for most of this past year, I still couldn’t get there. I was always too busy, my schedule wouldn’t allow it, or some other excuse always came to mind.

Here are some of my favorite excuses I’ve made:

  1. Surely walking to the convenience store (past the door to the gym) for a Coke is exercise enough.
  2. It takes too long to get there. (Did I mention it’s right next to my office?)
  3. Exercise is boring. (Yes, I’d rather not spend 30 minutes on an elliptical machine or treadmill with a television or a book right in front of me)
  4. I just don’t want to move today.
  5. I only have an hour lunch. There’s no way I could bring my lunch and still have time to work out (I don’t even have to go outside.)

More than likely, my excuses are (and I quote Jim Gaffigan), “Today I can’t exercise because I don’t wanna and tomorrow I’m not going to be interested.”

I’ve had enough of my own sorry excuses. I’m tired of waiting for motivation. I’m tired of carrying around more weight than necessary.

I’m pretty imaginative and I’m sure I could continue creating excuses, but I’m not going to do that anymore.

I’m working out today.