10 Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn About Your Photography Business From Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter known for his emotional honesty and bold colors. He lived through periods of painful anxiety and mental illness, and died of a gunshot wound at 37. He did not begin to paint until his late twenties, and in just over a decade produced more than 2,100 works of art. Though few knew of his work while he was alive, he has since gone down in history as one of the most recognized names in the art world.

One of the great things about looking back at Van Gogh’s life is how he truly thought about the world. When you look at his views and how he thought and looked at the world, there are many things you can take into your own life today and use to help propel you forward.

1. Dare To Dream

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

What are your dreams? What have you always wanted to do? Instead of holding them in as dreams, make them a reality.

2. Never Hold Back

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

If something is destined to be great, it must be completed. No matter what your dreams and goals are, fear should never hold you back. Move forward no matter what the dangers – it’s the only way you’ll succeed.

3. Our Own Doubts Are Our Greatest Motivators

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Our own internal voices are probably the most detrimental to our future success. There is always an internal voice that doesn’t like change; that wants nothing to do with change. Yet if you silence that voice and do it anyway, you’ll love the end results.

4. Live Your Life Fully

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

Yes, you can stay in one place your whole life with little change. Yet what are you missing? What could you have experienced? What could you have done? Don’t be afraid to ask the questions … and then answer them.

5. Your Greatest Experiences Will Become Your Greatest Motivators

“It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitation, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.”

You should never become complacent and accept the same things. Even if you are doing your normal daily routine, mix it up be reading a great book, heading down to a local exhibit, or taking in a play at the theater just for the experience.

6. Fear Is Your Greatest Weakness

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

What have you put off because of your own internal fears? It could be something as simple as cold calling, or as complex as making the first move to start your business. Courage is inside of you; you just have to reach out and do it anyway.

7. Perfection Is Found Over The Years

“It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”

There will never be a time when you know all you need to know. This world changes quickly, and there is always something new to learn. Jump in and learn from those you’ve mentored in the past. Use it to build towards your own future.

8. It’s The Details That Make Up The Whole

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

When you have a dream, the only way to reach a goal is by taking baby steps along the way. Don’t focus on the goal. Instead, create the steps and do one every day.

9. Do Your Best All The Time

“I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”

I read somewhere once that all of your relationships throughout life are based on seasons. Some will be with you for life. Yet most will come in and out of your life like the seasons, being there for when you need them the most. You can not worry about what each person in your life thinks. You can only move forward in the best way you can, accepting the love and fulfillment of everyone surrounding you today.

10. Try New Things

“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”

You’re never to old to try something new. A new activity is what keeps you young and gives you a new perspective. Just because you are a photographer doesn’t mean skydiving may not have a major impact on your work. Just get out there and do something.

5 thoughts on “10 Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn About Your Photography Business From Van Gogh”

  1. Thanks. I wrote an article recently about what painters could teach artists and I was a little disappointed in myself about how little i wrote about Van Gough.

  2. Thank you for the article. Encouragement along the way is ALWAYS helpful. Also, I found a copy of Van Gogh’s painting, pictured in your article, painted under a rural low water bridge in Texas. I didn’t know what to call it but after reading your article and doing a little research I call it Van Gogh Graffiti. You can see it on my website in the “Randomosity” gallery.

    Thanks again!



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