Do it for others

Bob Ross was the famous host of a TV show called The Joy of Painting. On the surface, it appeared to be about painting. Every week, he painted natural landscapes while narrating his activity to a huge TV audience. The show ran for 403 episodes over 13 years. But painting isn’t why it succeeded. There simply weren’t enough painters (or people remotely interested in painting) to justify the existence of the show. It was about the soothing nature of his voice. Instead of focusing on the technique of painting landscapes and judging the quality of the show by artistic content, Bob Ross and his team were able to put their own interests aside. They realized that the show wasn’t for people interested in painting. And yeah, his paintings were not groundbreaking in any way. That’s OK. They didn’t need to be. There were enough landscape oil paintings in the world. What people at home needed wasn’t another oil painting. Bob Ross didn’t go out to impress serious artists. He went out to provide comfort to the weary and hope to the small contingent of hobby artists who could see how easy it was to paint. And somehow, as creators we still feel that the world needs another voice aiming to convince others that what they’re doing is overly significant. It takes a lot of courage. To drop your guard. To truly begin to serve people with your work. This the price you pay in order to be rewarded by society. Do it for others.

-- Johnny

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