A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.


A man paints with his brains and not with his hands. – Michalangelo

If you didn't know what a violin looked like, how would you know you were done?

If you didn’t know what a violin looked like, how would you know you were done? Sidewalk chalk art, like life, works best if you know where you are going.

What does that mean?
But, I wondered, how does your brain hold the brushes? All silliness aside, this quote is about seeing what you want to create in your head, before even picking up the brushes. It would also apply to those flashes of insight where, part way through a painting, you realize that a few tweaks could really improve the painting.

And, of course, the same applies to other art forms, be it sculpting or photography. He also has a series of famous quotes about sculpting, including simply setting the sculpture free of the extra material, and carving only to the skin of the creature within.

All of these go back to knowing your destination. If you know what you want, you know when you get there. If you’re just headed off in that direction, when will you get there? How will you know you when you have finished? Yes, life requires flexibly, but without a destination, you simply wander.

Why is knowing what you want important?  
What do you want to get done? What will your project look like when it is done? If you don’t know that, how will you know when you are done? Will you know how many arms or legs the sculpture should have? Do you know what color the flowers will be?

While this quote is specifically about painting, I apply it to software, which is still more art than science. I believe it applies to most of our endeavors in life. How do you know if this person is the one with whom you will spend the rest of your life, unless you know what you want?

How will you know you are done landscaping your property or decorating a cake, if you don’t know what it is going to look like when it is done? Yet so often, at least for me, I set out to accomplish something, with a detailed plan on how to execute each step, but no idea where I will end up.

A skilled captain of a boat, with all the knowledge of their boat, and detailed maps of all the waters around them is useless without a destination or a navigator. If they know where they are going, then the rest is simply applying what they already know, right?

Where can I apply this in my life?
I would expect that you already use this in your life, although probably not as thoroughly as you could. Consider the difference between days when you know what you want to eat, and days when you aren’t really sure. Is it easier to figure out what you’re fixing or where you’re going when you know what you want? I know it is for me.

What about shopping for something? Whether you are looking at shoes, TVs, appliances, or cars, if you don’t know what you really want, how well will the trip end? What are the odds you will end up with something that you will be really happy with, at a good price, over the long term?

Yeah, I imagine we’ve all been there and done that. It usually doesn’t end well, does it? What about other things in your life? Where else have you felt that uneasy and unsure feeling? Contrast those times to the times when you saw something that was exactly what you were trying to find.

So, the question becomes how do you become more certain about what you want in life. To know the answer to that, or anything else for that matter, you have to ask questions. If you’re looking for a car, do you have a specific color in mind, is color completely irrelevant, or do you just not know?

Which answers will make it easier to find the car you want, and which will make it harder? And so it goes for shoes, appliances, TVs, friends or anything else, right? What are your thoughts on having a destination in mind before getting started, have they changed since before you started reading?

Grab some paper and jot down a couple situations where you knew exactly what you wanted, and a couple of times when you knew you needed something, but had no idea what it was, specifically. Take your time, and get a few of these down on paper. This blog is about examining your life, right?

For the entries where you knew what you wanted, write down what some of the details were of which you were certain. Then for the entries where you weren’t sure, write down your feelings about why you were so uncertain. Were you afraid to make the wrong decision? Were you uncertain of the details?

For each of the entries where you were uncertain, can you think of something you could have done to banish the uncertainty? Could you have done some research and become certain of what you did or didn’t want? Could you have found out all the details? That might be something you could do next time you are uncertain, right?

Look at the difference between the two lists, and consider how differently the outcomes were. What can you do to try to make the uncertainty go away and be a little more sure of what you want in life? Can you find any patterns? For me, it’s always been about information and certainty. What do you need to know what you want?

It’s all about getting your head in the game, and being sure of what you want. When you know, it’s easier to get there, and easier to know when you are done. Remember, paint with your brains, not your hands.

From: Twitter, @MikeMellia
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/michelange104153.html
Photo by Tobyotter

Happy Birthday to one of the Renaissance’s greatest artists, and possibly the greatest sculptor ever to have lived, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, born 6 March, 1475.

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About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in confidence, destination, knowledge, motivation, preparation, question and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.

  1. Thank you for that quote! I agree from the bottom of my heart. I had finished writing my book about “SMILER” … but I put the quote in it! I’m sure it will improve my book 🙂
    Gegga – creator of The Smiler.

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