When Did You First Start Saying No?

When did you first start saying no?

When did you first start saying no, I’m not good enough; I’ll do this.

I’m not an artist. I’ll do this?

When did that first happened? Because you know when you were younger, when you were a kid, that was not happening, right?

But at some point you had a “realization” that this was not gonna work they way you dreamed and you’ve got to change course.

Maybe a parent talked you into it. Maybe something in life happened and you weren’t on the path that you really wanted to be anymore and so you started to say no.

No, I won’t pursue this dream. I won’t pursue this passion. I won’t pursue this thing because...

… I don’t have the skill. I don’t have the ability. I don’t have the power. I don’t have the resources. That’s a big one, right? I don’t have the resources. I didn’t go to school for this. I gotta go to school for this.

So tell me in the comment here, when did you first start saying no?

Now, tell me what would happen now as an adult, as somebody who is now in control of their life? What would happen if you flip that? And you started to say yes?

Not yes, I’m an artist. Maybe start with yes, I didn’t go to school for this. Yes, I’m not good enough. Yes, I’m not these things. And then add a little piece in there…

… but I don’t give a shit because that’s not why I came down on to this planet. I didn’t come down here to be good enough for somebody else.

What would happen in your life if you were to say “Yes, you might be right.” And just take that voice. That voice that says no. Put it off here to this side and talk to it for a second.

I know, sounds weird. But really, literally, you have voices in your head.  I have voices from my teachers… All the teachers that are important to me. I can go to them and ask them. I’m sure you can too.

You’ve got that voice for that teacher that meant… well, that meant everything to you. Mine is Al Gory in Pennsylvania… in Philadelphia. If something happens, I can have a little conversation with Al. I haven’t talk to him in ages, except for in my own head. Because we spent so much time together back in the day.  

Do you have a voice like that that you can talk to?

The human consciousness is amazing and we have these parts. As artists, we’ve got the Visionary, the Realist, the Critic -- they are all inside us. They are all valuable, right?

That part that tells us to pay the bills… That part that tells us we might not have the skills… These are all valuable parts. They just don’t want see us fail. That’s it.

The human brain, we have to remember, is designed to survive. And failure is largely seen as not surviving.

What’s the real cost here, though? Because that’s the thing we need to be aware of. Human consciousness is designed to keep us alive. This meat inside our skull is designed to keep us alive. But that’s physical survival not social survival or artistic survival or relationship survival.

But in today’s world if we aren’t failing then we aren’t trying hard enough and the guy next to us is going to get the prize.  In today’s world if you don’t know where your boundaries are and you are not pushing them then someone else gets that prize.  

After all, our capacity is in our failures. Our ability only comes when we push ourselves to that next level. And the only way you could push yourself is by stretching what you can do. And stretching what you can do means at some point it’s gonna break. And then you start again.

So,  what would happen if you took that voice that said no... It said no how long ago? Do you even remember?

My voice said no, twelve years old. That was when my voice said that. And my voice was responding to a whole bunch of different stuff.

It’s responding to moving into a trailer park… to having no idea what was going on, to having no control and it decided, in that moment, that you know what? I gotta do the best I can with the little bits of stuff I do. And I can’t dream because I’m barely surviving here, right? Parents are going crazy and I’m just trying to meet ends meet. This is the twelve year-old boy in me talking.

I mean, it was a crazy time. Really crazy. But you know what? That twelve year-old is not with me now today. And my job, if anything, is to help that twelve year-old. Because you know all that shit’s gone. It’s all gone. I’m in a totally different world now. So, that NO does not mean shit. It’s irrelevant.

So, when did you first start say no?

And is that no still really that important? Because now, I want you to say YES. Say yes, maybe you’re right.  Maybe I don’t have the skill. Maybe I don’t have that resource. And say, “I don’t give a shit.” Because I’m not here on this planet to appease or ask for permission.

How often do we ask permission to be who we really are?

If you wanna go out and paint a six-foot canvass, eight-foot canvass with twenty different figures in it... if you wanna sculpt a life-size sculpture, there’s a voice that’s gonna say “But you don’t have the skill. You don’t have this. You don’t have that.” And you know what? That’s fine. Because that voice is a valuable member of the team. But you know what? That voice is not a leader. That voice should not be leading your life.

You should be leading your life. Listen to the voice. Accept it and say “That’s cool. I get it. But you know what? We’re gonna do it anyways. We’re gonna take that risk. We’re gonna risk that failure because you know what? There’s no real f’ing downside.”, right? There’s no real downside.

So what would happen in your life if today you were to say “Yes, I’m GOING TO DO THAT?”

What project have you been waiting permission to start? What project has been sitting in the wings, hoping that you would get the resources together. But today you gonna say “Fuck it. Fuck it. I don’t need the resources. I don’t need shit. Okay? I just need to do it.”

Today, you’re gonna do it.  You start that six-foot canvas. You start that life-size sculpture or that twelve-inch sculpture you’ve been waiting to do. You start that sculpture that has twenty different creatures in it. You start that business. You create that class and you put that out there into the world to train people, to share your knowledge.

So, what is it that you are going to start today?

I believe in you. You can make this happen. You have everything that you need inside you. And what you don’t have, you’ve got the determination and the will to get it. But I think as you start, you’ll discover that you need a lot less than you think and you have superpowers already inside you.

So, tell me in the comments, what are you gonna say yes to? What are you going to do today to make it happen because today is the day. There’s no tomorrow. No yesterday. And if you’re still looking for permission… I give you my full permission to make awesome happen.

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