The Measure of Success

20 Oct

The ticking of a clock on Sunday nights can only mean one thing; it’s time for Sixty Minutes.  On Sunday, October 16th, I was drawn into a segment about Vincent Van Gogh.  The segment featured was two men that believe Van Gogh didn’t commit suicide in July of 1890.  Their theory involves teenagers teasing the artist.  The belief is he was murdered, teasing gone too far.

Van Gogh was only thirty-seven at the time of his death.  He was a man in search of himself.  He was an art dealer turned clergyman.  It wasn’t until he was twenty-seven that he decided to try his hand at creating art.  He only had a decade-long career, which spanned from 1880 until his death in 1890. During that period of time, Van Gogh created 900 paintings and 1,100 works on paper.  Van Gogh sold only a few of his pieces.  Most of his collection was given to his brother, Theo, who supported Van Gogh.

Every day he would take his materials and head out to the countryside where he’d paint.  Every day.  Think about that commitment.  Van Gogh didn’t believe he was a great, undiscovered talent.  He thought his work was to quote, “of very secondary importance.”  Wow.  Think about that.  He wasn’t waiting to be “discovered.”  He did what he did.

During a two year period, he averaged a painting a day.

Theo had been in failing health.  He died six months after Vincent.  Theo’s widow took Van Gogh’s collection to Holland and devoted herself to getting the artwork recognition she felt it deserved.  The rest…is history.

Van Gogh painted.

Van Gogh studied.

Van Gogh tried to improve his craft.

He sounds like anyone of us.  His art was a reflection of who he was.  Our art is a reflection of who we are.  He didn’t believe he was a great talent.  Did that get anyone’s attention?  This is a man who believed his life was a failure, yet he hadn’t given up.  He’d taken his materials out to the countryside to paint on the day the shooting occurred.  This was a man driven by his passion to create.

We need to take that lesson from Vincent Van Gogh.  Keep working even when you’re filled with doubts.  Don’t let you get in your way.

What is your measure of success?


Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Idaho


20 responses to “The Measure of Success

  1. johannaharness

    October 20, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    Thanks for this reminder, Lynn.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 20, 2011 at 6:13 PM

      Every now and then I need to be slapped. The segment slapped me, hard. We all know the struggles he went through, but I hadn’t realized how he viewed his work.

  2. Janis McCurry

    October 20, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Success is completion of your 1st book. 2nd book. 3rd book. Get the drift? Publication is a harder nut to crack for most and it certainly is a measure of success. But, I’d put perseverance right up there, even if you never pub.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      How many people say they are going to write a book? You’re right. It’s a task a slect few achieve. Yeah, for us!

  3. Meredith Conner

    October 20, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    We all need this reminder at times Lynn!! It is so important – especially to us unpubs!!!

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 20, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      Amen. We do need this reminder, and we need the reminder, and we need the reminder…..

  4. Liz Fredericks

    October 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Very compelling blog, Lynn. Very. Thank you.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 20, 2011 at 6:17 PM

      Thanks, Liz. You are welcome.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    October 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    No matter where we are in our careers we can always improve. Van Gogh is one of my favorites. Sorry I missed that 60 Minutes.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 20, 2011 at 6:19 PM

      It was interesting. Go online under 60 Miniutes or type Van Gogh and it will pop up.

  6. Mary Vine

    October 20, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I’m sorry I missed 60 minutes, but I wonder if I would have gotten the great things you got from it. Very good, Lynn. Success for me was going back to college at 50 something and I’m thinking that one of the best things I’ll ever do is help my husband through his illness as the years pass.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 20, 2011 at 6:20 PM

      Mary, you have excellent measurment tools.

  7. Carley Ash

    October 20, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Wow. It’s amazing how productive he was.

    I measure my success by my satisfaction with a job.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 22, 2011 at 8:18 PM

      I like that tool. Taking satisfaction from your success at your job is good. Go deeper. What else makes you feel successful?

  8. Susan Russo Anderson

    October 21, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    This is amazing information, Lynn. I never knew that he only painted for ten years. Thanks so much for sharing and kindling (no pun intended) our passion to create!

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 22, 2011 at 8:20 PM

      Hi Susan. Think about what you’ve done in the past ten years. Van Gogh must have been driven to create. How else do you explain his work ethic, considering everything else he was going through.

  9. Clarissa Southwick

    October 21, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Great story, Lynn. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  10. Steph

    October 25, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Lynn, you are the epitome of success. Anyone who can take children and instill a sense of value is a winner in my book. I didn’t see the Van Gogh segment but it sounds amazing. You are also right about the fact that we need a reminder of the value of what we are doing. Everyone thinks they can write a book but few get it done.

    • Lynn Mapp

      October 26, 2011 at 7:18 PM

      Hi Steph, thank you. You are so right. Everyone thinks they can write a book, but…it takes real work to get that done. Real work.


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