During the new year's season, many important oaths are made, promises promised and resolutions sworn... then broken. I have a print out of "Three Things to Quit", as presented by Professor Ron Mazellan of Indiana Wesleyan University during the 2009 commencement of the Masters in Illustration graduation of the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, CT. Ron's words have been the highlight of my entire MFA experience. Sure, I've met illustration heroes, held masterpieces in my hands and been in critiques that set me on my heels. Ron's humble speech to his fellow classmates taught me more about myself and got me looking inside at my motivations; what drives me.
I pass this along with his permission. I ask that you print it out, and place it somewhere in your studio. I have my print-out in my studio bathroom, to the left of the mirror, where I read it when brushing my teeth, rinse brushes and wash my dog. It has to be reinforced to become a personal credo.
Three Things to Quit by Professor Ron Mazellan, July 2009
Quit comparing yourself to others.
- Dwelling on what others have and what you lack is a waste of time and energy.
- Be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else. There is no one like you!
- Stop dwelling on your short-comings. Everybody comes up short somewhere.
- Quit complaining about the weather, your height, your weight, your hair, etc. It drains you, paralyzes you, and fosters a defeatist mindset before you begin.
- Complaining creates a false paradigm for life. We convinces ourselves to believe that complaining will make living a more pleasant experience.
- Complaining delays action. We delay and wait too long to begin, waiting for conditions to be perfect.
- Complaining is contagious and it causes others to lose heart.
- Concluding stops dreams before they have the opportunity to begin.
- Concluding waits for opportunities and when they come, many refuse to act.
- Concluding creates a paradigm of fear; the pursuit of anything I attempt will end in failure, so why begin?
- Most people don't begin because they lack imagination of what is possible.
You can view Ron's work and follow him on Twitter: