Life Changing Lessons Learned from Van Gogh, Steve Jobs, and Lao Tzu

                                                  Photo credit:

                                                  Photo credit:

If You Can Learn Something New Every Day, You Can Better Adapt to the Future

Last week I shared a collaboration post about some of Medium’s top influencers’ favourite quotes. The results were amazing. I learned so much from the quotes they chose and their views on them. The quotes from this post were borrowed from the answers I received from Jessica JungtonLincoln W Daniel, and Jonathan Greene.

Here’s the post, to read after this one:

The 56 Most Inspiring Quotes According To Top Medium Influencers
We’re All United by the Quotes We Live

Lesson Learned from Vincent Van Gogh

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” — Vincent Van Gogh
                    Vincent Van Gogh. Photo credit:

                    Vincent Van Gogh. Photo credit:

This is one of the key lessons I learned that helped me build momentum and stay productive for extended periods of times. Breaking everything down to a series of small things working towards a greater ambition is a key to action. It’s easy to procrastinate when we know a task or a goal is too big, but it’s motivating to do a simple 15-minute task towards a greater purpose.

Also very important: the small things need a common goal. When you have clarity on your main goal, that’s when you can break it down into smaller things that matter.

Here’s what Jessica Jungton had to say about the quote:

“This mentally helps me overcome discouragement. When tasks are overwhelming or my goals feel far away, I focus on what I can do right now, even if seems unimportant in the larger scheme of things. Knowing that all of these “small” decisions and actions will combine to create something more significant helps me to keep going and not give up.”


Lesson Learned from Steve Jobs

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” — Steve Jobs
                                    Steve Jobs. Photo credit:

                                    Steve Jobs. Photo credit:

We see “overnight successes” in every walk of life. It’s easy to look at someone successful and say that they got lucky to have risen to fame. There are exceptions of course, but the majority of the time, successful people are successful because they’ve worked their asses off, crafting their craft with persistence.

Many times, one is not an overnight success because of this:

I’m guilty of giving up too early to be an overnight success.

Here’s what Lincoln W Daniel had to say about this quote:

“It’s lazy and, perhaps, harmful to think that a successful entity came by its success easily, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. I have learned the hard way that true success comes with time, planning, and sacrifice. Fairy tales are easy to write after the fact, especially when the grueling details are omitted.”


Lesson Learned from Lao Tzu

“He who knows others is intelligent; he who understands himself is enlightened” — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (The Book of the Way)
                                          Lao Tzu. Photo credit:

                                          Lao Tzu. Photo credit:

Do you truly understand yourself? When’s the last time you reflected back on what makes you who you are? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you aspire to become? What’s your main goal in life?

These are the kinds of questions I reflected on during my self-improvement week. These are the kinds of questions I reflect on when I journal.

Having clarity about yourself is a major stepping stone to reaching your burning desires.

Here’s what Jonathan Greenehas to say about this quote:

“We can learn so much from others, but until we understand ourselves we will never reach our peak. I have learned this first-hand and have finally gotten to a place in my life where I can be open with myself. What makes me tick. Why I get up. What drives me. It provided a level of confidence in life that you can’t get any other way.”



In short, here are the three lessons I learned from the quotes above:

  1. Breaking bigger goals into smaller goals keeps you motivated and gives you a sense of direction;
  2. Successful people are successful because they’ve worked their asses off, crafting their craft with persistence; and
  3. Having clarity about yourself is a major stepping stone to reaching your burning desires.

These are three of the most important lessons one can learn. They were applied by Vincent Van Gogh, Steve Jobs, Lao Tzu, and pretty much all other successful people we’ve known throughout history.

I often lack persistence and give up too early. Sometimes it’s because of a lack of purpose behind something I’m doing. I start many things without thinking too much about how it fits with my chief aim, leading me to work aimlessly and ultimately give up.

These three lessons, when applied correctly, help get clarity, focus on the right things and be persistent in action.

So take the time to understand the lessons. Gain clarity on yourself. Break your goals down into bite-sized goals. When done, take action. Don’t procrastinate.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, sharing and following! :)

First published here: