In the charming French resort town of Nice, an American woman named Joan was shopping in the open-air market one morning when she saw a man who resembled the renowned artist Pablo Picasso. As Joan neared the elderly yet energetic fellow, she grew more certain that he was indeed the great painter and one of her idols.
With trepidation Joan approached the man and asked him, "Excuse me, but aren’t you Pablo Picasso?"
"That’s right," he answered softly.
Excitement began to exude from every pore of Joan’s being. She told him, "I don’t mean to disturb you, sir, but I am one of your biggest fans. Is there any way you would be willing to take just a few minutes and do a simple sketch of me? I’d be happy to pay you."
Picasso stepped back a foot or two, studied the woman’s features, and then, after appropriate deliberation, answered with a smile, "Yes, I will."
What Are You Really Worth?
Joan nearly swooned. Picasso picked up his sketchpad from the foot of a fruit stand and the two walked to a nearby sidewalk café where they claimed a quiet table off to the side. Picasso opened his pad, reached into his jacket pocket for a small piece of charcoal, and went to work. Fifteen minutes later he turned the pad around and showed Joan his finished work. It was spectacular -- an authentic Picasso, and of her!
Joan took the portrait, embraced it, and thanked the master profusely. Then she opened her purse to find her checkbook and asked, "How much will that be?"
$5,000," Picasso answered in a matter-of-fact way.
Joan’s jaw dropped. "$5,000? But, sir, the picture took you only 15 minutes to draw."
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
"No, madam," he answered quite seriously. "You don’t understand. The painting took me 80 years and 15 minutes to draw."
Your Past Has Led You To Who You Are Today
Everything you have ever done has led you to become who and what you are today. All that you know and do is built on the lessons that paved the way to this rich and precious moment. Every failure and triumph you have charted; every kind heart and charlatan you have encountered; every foray into uncharted territory and the information you gleaned, have all contributed to your practical wisdom. You stand on the shoulders of all your mistakes, insights, laughter, tears, and years. Indeed you are taller for it!
In the same way, all of your relationships have led you to this point. While you might tend to cringe when you think of your past errors in relationships, or resent the partners you are not with anymore, you can appreciate them for the delightful moments you shared and the lessons you learned. I heard about a couple who, during their wedding ceremony, took the time to mention by name their past significant partners and thank them for the gifts they had contributed to their lives. "If it weren’t for these relationships," the couple announced, "we would not be the people we are today, standing here together, bringing what we do to each other."
In your career, attribute proper value to the experience that has seasoned you and your colleagues. When offering your services or negotiating your fee or contract, take into account all the learning that has built the skills you wield. Even if you are inexperienced in a certain field, you can likely transfer the expertise you have gained in another arena. A good salesman can sell anything; if you know how to sell pool supplies, selling cars is just a matter of learning the details of the industry. Data is far easier to learn than skill. Once you have a skill, you have it for a lifetime.
Big Things Are The Result of a Lot of Little Things
A famous story tells of a company that needed a boiler repaired. The manager called in a boiler repairman and explained the problem to him. With hardly a thought, the repairman walked to his toolbox and took out a screwdriver and a screw. He walked to the boiler, opened a certain small door, replaced the screw, and adjusted it. Immediately the boiler began to work again.
On his way out, the repairman presented the manager with a bill for $100. "$100?" exclaimed the manager. "All you did was turn a screw."
"Yes," answered the repairman. "The bill can be broken down as follows: $1 for the screw; $99 for knowing which screw to turn."
Big things are the result of a lot of little things. When you achieve a landmark deal in your business, meet the man or woman of your dreams, or finally feel better after a chronic illness, you are not just lucky and it is not a fluke. Over time and experience you have built the consciousness to generate this shift. The change may seem to be the result of one act or connection, but be assured that everything you have ever done has built up to it.
The Universe Does Not Operate By Chance
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated, "One only gets to the top rung on the ladder by steadily climbing up one at a time, and suddenly, all sorts of powers, all sorts of abilities which you thought never belonged to you -- suddenly become within your own possibility."
We tend to be shortsighted when it comes to our achievements or those of others. Do not be fooled. The universe operates not by chance, but by scientific principles. Every day, every moment, you are building your consciousness. You are trying many different experiences on for size, and with each one you learn more about who you are, what you want, and how to create your life by choice. Then one day it happens. Not in fifteen minutes, but perhaps after many years. Then you truly own it. And it is worth a lot more than $5,000.
* Sub-titles by InnerSelf
Book by this Author
Linden's Last Life: The Point of No Return Is Just the Beginning
by Alan Cohen.
Just as down-and-out Linden Kozlowski is about to end it all, he’s intercepted by a monk who convinces him that if he runs away from life, he’ll have to return, and his problems will just get worse. To escape the pain of the world forever, Linden stays alive long enough to make a mystical deal to never be reborn again. When a strange and unexpected turn of events occurs, Linden has second thoughts about his decision…but can he reverse it? His extraordinary adventure literally takes him to the ends of the earth, where he gathers allies, faces overwhelming forces, and realizes that he must decide if life is worth living and if love is more powerful than destiny.
About The Author
Alan Cohen is the bestselling author of A Course in Miracles Made Easy and of the newly-released Spirit Means Business. Join Alan and musician Karen Drucker in Hawaii, December 1-6, for an extraordinary retreat, “A Course in Miracles: the Easy Path.” For more information about this program, Alan’s Holistic Life Coach Training beginning January 1, his books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com