“Who here is a painter?”

This morning I was reading a few emails, and came across one from Chris Brogan, who “consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies like PepsiCo, General Motors, Microsoft, and more, on the future of business communications, and social software technologies.”

Here’s part of the email:

“There’s a story I’ve heard, and like all stories, the better question is never whether it is real, but whether you can make something from it. It goes like this:

Picasso is touring a school with someone who wants to know why the institute of education is failing the children. Picasso asks a roomful of six-year-old children, “Who here is a painter?” All hands go up. “Who here is a dancer?” “Who is a singer?” All hands go up. “Who here is a storyteller?” All hands go up. He walks down the hall to where the seventeen-year-old children are taking classes and he asks the same questions. Few, if any hands go up. “There’s your problem,” says Picasso. “Schools train our children not to be painters, dancers, singers, and storytellers.”

Again, who cares if the story is real? The meaning of the story is something you, yourself, can nod about. Because you are no longer all the things you were when you were six. You could be. But you’ve been made to believe that you are not.”

I love this because I’m a prime example of this. If I could go back in time, I would have kept the joy of painting with me throughout my teenage and early 20’s years, and gotten a head start on my painting career. However, I was trained not to. I became an accountant. Now I’m back to being a painter.

Oftentimes I wonder why so many people with so much artistic talent to offer are usually not paid in the same way as someone who can crunch numbers well, or who can invest in stocks well. With hard work, an artist can be paid just as well, if not better, than many traditional occupations, but this is not taught to us in school. Through following my own true interests, I turned back to art.

Who’s to tell us how we can or cannot make a living? You chart your own course!

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