Who hasn’t heard of Pablo Picasso? For me, the name conjures up distinctive images: strange, evocative and compelling. So when I travelled to the south of Spain a few years ago I had to take the opportunity to see his work in the flesh. Malaga is usually a transit point for the more popular parts of Andalucia but I knew that Picasso had been born there and that many of his works were on display at the Picasso Museum in the city. It was the ideal chance to experience his art for myself.
Looking at some of the paintings, I got the sense of different perspectives, the coexistence of different realities in the same image and after a couple of hours in the museum going back to ‘real life’ felt so strange. As I went through the museum absorbing what was on this display, not just paintings but drawings, ceramics and sculptures, I became more and more intrigued. ‘What kind of mind produces this? All of this?’ Who was the man behind the art? I wanted to know more.
I learned that Picasso created his first painting at the age of nine and had his first major exhibition in Paris at the age of nineteen. As a student he bristled at authority, resented being told what to do and was often in detention. In spite of that, he went on to become one of the fathers of Cubism and made significant contributions to other genres.
Yet probably the most striking discovery was Picasso’s ability to constantly evolve. He changed his painting style over the years, influenced by Surrealism, Expressionism and Symbolism and experimented with different media including sculpture, ceramics and drawing. He was always willing to push his creative boundaries and embrace change. His unending drive to create reflected that philosophy and it’s no wonder his life and work are a source of inspiration for so many.
Are you struggling to cope with what feels like chaos in your life? Do you wish you could reinvent yourself and move towards a bold new future with confidence? Here are seven quotes from the man himself. Maybe they will inspire you to see grand possibilities for your future.
1.‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.’
As a child prodigy, Picasso knew that he was an artist very early on and believed it was for that purpose he had been put on the earth. Some of us take just a little bit longer to discover and cultivate ours but imagine how it would feel if what you did brought out the best in you.
But what good is your gift if you keep it all to yourself? True satisfaction and fulfilment comes from sharing not hoarding. So yes, talent, passion and purpose – find it, fulfil it then share it.
2.’Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.’
I love this one as it is a reminder that to bring something new into your life requires change and change is chaos. Chaos often brings destruction but it is through tearing down the old ideas, thoughts, beliefs that you are able to create the new -and rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Picasso continued to go with the flow, always wanting to learn, he welcomed change. So don’t be afraid of change, don’t be afraid of being destroyed.
3.‘All children are artists, the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.‘
Research has shown that as children enter school and grow into adulthood, the creative side of their brains are used less and less. So the message is to nurture creativity in our children but as an adult understand that you too have the power to create. It’s always been there (probably buried deep inside). Liberate it and feel empowered.
4.‘Everything you can imagine is real.’
If you can imagine it then you can achieve it and if you can dream it then you can become it. It is so important to have that vision whether that vision is for the day or for your life. A vision along with intention will keep you focused. It is amazing how having that vision fosters the belief that it can be achieved. Without a clear vision your tendency is to get caught up in what was and who you were, not what you want and who you want to be. Imagine it first then make it a reality.
5.‘Inspiration exists but it has to find you working.‘
So many of us have had grand ideas and plans but never take it forward. This is a reminder that inspiration alone is not enough you actually have to do the work. Which brings me to the next quote.
6.‘Action is the foundational key to all success.’
Picasso reminds us that ideas are important but action is critical. Don’t be fooled into making moves with no measurable outcome, remember action is what gets the results. Don’t wait for the perfect time to do something, there won’t be a perfect time. All the knowledge in the world (although important) is worthless if not used. The best way to understand something is to actually do it. So take action, create momentum and with consistency watch it become a powerful habit in your life.
7.‘Only put off till tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.‘
This last one is really what it’s all about. If it matters to you, go for it! If it is important, do it now. Nothing in life is guaranteed and an opportunity here today may not be there tomorrow. So don’t procrastinate, don’t live in fear and don’t keep putting things off especially if they are things you want to do. Ultimately, life is lived in the here and now.
I read somewhere that had Pablo Picasso never been born, his art would never have been created. Who knows? What is without doubt is he was a man with an original mind and a unique perspective. He was not afraid to push beyond his boundaries, reinventing himself over a career that spanned eight decades. He found his purpose, fulfilled it and shared it with the world. Could he inspire you to find the courage to do the same?