Two painters walk into a park on Sunday to paint.
The first painter begins painting, but also enjoys the sunshine, takes pleasure in the leaves on the trees and the freshness of the park air, as well as the colors of the plants and flowers surrounding him.
The second painter starts to paint, but worries about what others will think of his painting. He imagines that others probably regard him as no good at painting, and ‘Maybe that is true,’ he thinks, ‘I’m not a good painter. I shouldn’t be painting. I should stop painting.’
Many people share characteristics of the two Sunday painters. Some enjoy the moment, and others are constantly judging how well they are doing, asking is this good enough? A few will live life in the moment, paying attention to what they are doing, just enjoying the activity of painting for the activity of painting. They’re not painting to impress people or because they will be accepted if they’re a good painter.
The true joy of painting comes from the activity of painting – NOT the result. The result you may never like, but the activity you usually do. I heard this story told by Paul Gilbert, author of The Compassionate Mind.