7 Life Lessons I Learned From Pablo Picasso

Post written by Warren. Follow him on Twitter.

"Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore."

"Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore."

Pablo Picasso, the most famous artist of the 20th century and one of my all time favorite artists has taught me many things about life and living.

He was born October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain, as the son of an art and drawing teacher. He was a brilliant student. He actually passed the entrance examination for the Barcelona School of Fine Arts at the age of 14 in just one day and was allowed to skip the first two classes.

According to one legend about his life, his father, recognizing the extraordinary talent of his son, gave him his brushes and palette and vowed to paint never again in his own life.

Bottomline, if you have not heard about Pablo Picasso, you have probably been living under a rock for the last century as his influence and name have been everywhere.

The man is simply a legend, and rightfully so. His art sells in the millions and his legacy remains and always will.

Being an avid art fan, Picasso has always stood out to me as being highly unique and having the greatest impact on me. Everything about him and his art has always struck me as fascinating to say the least. The lines. The colors. The moods. The fluidity. The simplicity. The complexity. Life is reflected right there in front of our eyes through his works. If you look hard enough, you will feel it.

What I have discovered in Pablo Picasso was a guy that really knew how to live life and I feel he has passed on many keys to living life fully…in beautiful abstract color and bliss. Dancing to one’s own drum. Being bold and relevant. Picasso was a unique soul who was meant to create…to make us feel something, to make us look out at the world a bit differently, and most of all, ourselves.

You may not be a fan of his art, but I can assure you, you can learn volumes from the way he lived life to the fullest.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Picasso

Below I’ve listed out 7 life lessons I have learned from Pablo Picasso (not directly of course, I wish.) I hope you find them interesting and most of all, they can impact your life in a more positive way, or in a different light or angle.

1. Imperfection = Perfection

Picasso has taught me that in life, imperfection is…perfection. If you think about it, what actually is “perfection” anyway? Does it really exist? I truly believe it doesn’t. There is no rulebook that shows what perfection actually is. I’ve discovered that perfection is subjective, it is simply based on OUR views of what we think is perfect. What is perfect to me, may not be perfect to you.

Your idea of a “perfect” book could be the latest Harry Potter book. In my case, the perfect book to me may be the Tao Te Ching (which I adore). I’m not a Harry Potter fan, but hey, that’s just me. :)  Your idea of a perfect vacation may be a trip to Africa. Mine would be being on a beach with the girl I love…and doing nothing, but soaking in the sun and beautiful waves of the ocean. The point is, perfect does not exist in a general sense or to the masses as a whole in unified agreement.

When it comes to art and beauty, I find that the closer the art is to reality, the more boring it is. The more imperfect it is, the more perfect and beautiful it is to me. What makes it “perfect” and unique to me is the filter of that human it has come through, their representation. If I wanted a drawing or painting to look EXACTLY like a tree, a mountain, or a simple nude figure…I would rather just look at a stunning black and white photo.

Picasso nailed imperfection, perfectly. He hit on emotions that lie deep within us, and that is why his art has resonated with us ever since he started to paint or draw.

When you look at many of his paintings, they are very abstract. Very odd. Lines are jagged. Colors go from blue to red. But what he gives you in return is a new way to look at a beautiful woman, a lonely guitar player, or even a simple rooster. He has made reality explode with detail. He has emphasized the emotion behind it, the dominant aspects of what he is looking at, and more. It is not a perfect representation, but in so many ways, it just feels right.

Lesson: Learn to love imperfection. Learn to love your life and you, just as you are, and when you are striving for that “perfect body” the “perfect job” the “perfect mate”…realize they do not exist. Only YOUR idea of what makes them perfect TO YOU does. Perfection is a mental label, not actual reality.

2. Be Different, Be Bold

Picasso = bold and different. Not only is this reflected in his life, but also his paintings. Picasso was not afraid to use bold brush strokes, lines, and to completely change the rules when it comes to the way we view life through art. To demonstrate this, simply take a look at some of his abstract portraits. Eyes are in odd places, noses jet out at weird angles…it is almost like he deconstructed the human face, and then just threw it back together.

Nothing like this had ever been seen at that time and it was very bold and broke all the rules.

The key to Picasso being bold and different was courage, fearlessness and letting go of ego.

Do you live your life by what everyone thinks the way things “should be” done, the way things “should be” created, etc. Be like Picasso, bend the rules. Do something different. Do something no one has ever thought of, or simply do something you have always been afraid of. Be bold. Be different in YOUR world. If you are shy, talk to 3 strangers today. If you wear average looking clothes, wear a tshirt that makes a statement instead. The possibilities are endless. It may just open up your world and make it a bit more colorful and vibrant. :)

Lesson: Be different. Do different and bold things. When you do this, your world will shift a bit, and so will the world around you. Happiness and creativity will also likely rise within you, and walls of fear will drop.

3. Create New Paths

Picasso, not only did one type of art, he had his hands in various types of art movements. Many think he was just this abstract painter, but he was more than that. He created MULTIPLE new paths in art.  He was the co-founder of Cubism, he also sculpted and he put a whole new angle on Surrealism.

His overall bold and different approach to putting images on canvas created new paths for all artists that came after him. He was original. He was fearless. He tried new approaches.

What new paths can you create in your life?

Right now, you can step out in a new path with your job, your love life, your health and so much more. The trick is, what MOTIVATES you? What is your intention or purpose? Follow that and the right path will be laid out before you.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to blaze new trails, start new unknown paths. The only way you will know if will enjoy something is to try it. As they say, you will most likely regret the things you DON’T do versus the ones you DO. Start a new path today…it can be a small one. You might be amazed how big that path may grow once you take the courage to walk down it.

4. Find Your Talent or Passion, Then Pursue It Frequently

Picasso discovered at an early age he could draw, but most of all…he liked it. Art came natural too him. I truly believe every person on this planet has some sort of talent, or something the can share with humankind to make the world a better place. I believe that is our purpose.

Picasso did what he loved, and he pursued it day in and day out. He was passionate!

What I’ve learned from Picasso is that life is too short to be stuck in a cubicle 40 hours a week. Do you know how much of that time takes up your life? Way too much in my book.

If you have a passion for something, a talent, use it and pursue it. By doing so you not only become a more fulfilled human being, but life will open up to you and good things start to happen. It is as if you are falling in line with your natural self, your natural abilities and the universe creates positive things for you.

Your talent could be art, it could be singing, it could be dancing, it could be helping people at a local shelter, it could be poetry, it could be blogging, it could be a million things.

The key is discovering it.

How do you find it? You have to start trying things you think you would enjoy. Simple as that. When you find what you like and what you are good at, your soul will perk up. The main thing is you enjoy it, and not compare yourself to others as you will ALWAYS find someone who is “better”.

Lesson: Ignite your passion and find what you like to do. Do it often, and keep doing it. Watch what happens in your own universe. Pay attention to the people that get attracted to you. Pay attention to the doors that open up. The key is, you have to start trying and experiencing.

5. Seek to Be Prolific, Leave a Legacy

Picasso, once he discovered his passion and desire for art, he did it full force. His red-hot passion left a prolific amount of work once he had died and it still touches those who see his work today.

When you are passionate about what you do, you will usually leave a trail behind for others to follow. When you do what you like, and you do it well, others soon take notice and become influenced and the effect on people can grow exponentially. Picasso is a fine example of this. Not only was he prolific, his work left a legacy and will now and forever.

What if you could do or create something today, that you love, and it could have a positive impact on others way after you are gone? Would that inspire you? You could write a great book, a powerful article, a note to someone you love, create a small playground for kids to enjoy for years, plant a tree that could provide shade for a bench, etc.

The point I’m trying to make is, once you find your talent, how can you leave your trail behind? How can you put your fingerprint on something that will touch others for years to come?

There are thousands of things you could do.

If you do it out of love, and out of passion, your work and effort will naturally leave a legacy for others to admire for years to come.

Lesson: Follow your heart, follow your passion. When you do it well, and it resonates with you, it will also resonate with others out there. Be sure to leave something important behind for them. Leave a trail. Leave a legacy to inspire.

6. Love…a Lot

Let’s just face the truth on Picasso and love. When it came to women, he changed them about as often as he changed his paint brushes. He was a passionate guy, he loved beauty, and he was unafraid to show it or pursue it. Now I’m not saying one should go out there and date every guy or girl out there, or to have many lovers, etc. What I’m saying is you need to harness the power of love with all it’s power and FEEL it in your life.

This love could be for another human being, the work or talent you posses, but most of all…for yourself. Learn to fully love you, to love what you do, and to be proud of it.

Picasso was a guy who had raging passion and love not only for women, but for his art. Learn from that, and learn to find what sparks love within you and go for it full force. Just don’t get yourself in trouble. :)

Lesson: Love will find you when you love yourself. Learn to love, learn to give love, and learn to allow yourself to feel it fully with every ounce of your soul. A life without love is not a life at all.

7. Keep Things Simple

It is amazing to me how simple a Picasso line drawing could be, yet how powerful it could be. He had a knack to draw out the most dominant or prevalent features out of his subjects and greatly exaggerate them, but did it simply. There was no more need for other details, he just focused on a few aspects and really made them stand out. It was a very simple method, but it worked charmingly.

I’ve learned that keeping things simple like Picasso did in many of his drawings and paintings is the best way to live life.

In many cases, we do not need to focus on all the small, mundane details in life. Many of these things only cause us stress and worry. The main thing is to keep things simple, and focus on the aspects that stand out the most and can have the greatest impact of change in our lives.

If something can take 3 steps to complete it, why turn it into 10? Simplify. Simplify the clutter you have in your house, your closets, the backseat of your car, etc.

When you keep it simple, life becomes a bit more simple…and you free yourself and your awareness around you.

Lesson: Use the KISS Method…Keep It Simple Stupid. Why not simplify? Never underestimate the power of doing simple steps, taking simple actions toward what you want, or taking the simple approach to your work, your interests, or your life.

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I will leave you with this fantastic quote from Picasso, it sums it all up very well about the importance of life, its simplicity, and simply being fully present with it (and ourselves)…

“Everyone wants to understand art. Why don’t we try to understand the song of a bird? Why do we love the night, the flowers, everything around us, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting, people think they have to understand. If only they would realize above all that an artist works of necessity, that he himself is only an insignificant part of the world, and that no more importance should be attached to him than to plenty of other things which please us in the world though we can’t explain them; people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.” - Pablo Picasso

I bet you have a hero or icon you look up to as a role model for living…who is it?

Feel free to comment below and let me know, I would love to hear your personal response. :)

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Posted on July 29, 2009

Happy Comments

12 Responses to “7 Life Lessons I Learned From Pablo Picasso”
  1. Herbert says:

    I never really knew much about Picasso — I mean, I knew of him and his artwork, but I didn’t know much about him as a person. It’s great to see him emulate these qualities; I guess you could say he was a real man.
    .-= Herbert´s last blog ..On Freelancing =-.

    • Hey Herbert, thanks for the comment! Yes, Picasso was quite an amazing person. I’m sure just like every person, he had his ups and downs, also good qualities and bad ones…but I focused on the good. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here, come back soon!

      Cheers!

  2. Great post, Dayne! I had no idea that Picasso had such wonderful wisdom to share with us. :) Thanks for outlining it so nicely and expanding on each of the points. This was a great post and I couldn’t agree with these lessons more!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..stop wanting and start being =-.

  3. Hi Dayne,

    thank you so much for this delicious ART/Motivation-Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner Combo. Beautiful. I learned so much.
    Just beautiful!!

    love&laugh
    .-= Patricia Willis´s last blog ..WHAT IF YOUR boyfriend/girlfriend was an AIRLINE! Would you fly with it? =-.

    • Hey there Patricia, thank you so much for reading and commenting here. I really appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed the article and got something out of it, it was a blast to write! Please feel free to stop by again and have a great one!

  4. Great life lessons! I especially like the points about daring to be different, creating new paths, and following your passion. That truly is the essence of what life is about. :)
    .-= amanda@choosing-life-my-way.com´s last blog ..Just For Now Is All There Is =-.

  5. jen says:

    Hey Dayne, just had to let you know that I ran across this when I was putting together my Picasso drawing unit for my 2nd grade art class (I teach gr K-8 art in NYC). I read it to my 2nd graders & they loved it. I’m going to put it up on my bulletin board so that everyone can read it…. it sort of embodies the principles I do my best to encourage them as I teach them each year. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts & having such great ones!

  6. Allie says:

    Picasso was also a violently jealous lover forcing his women (who actually weren’t that many in numbers) to go as far as to wear fabric over their faces when they went out. He was jealous of all other artists, especially Matisse who garnered equal respect in the art world. He was known as being a chauvinist and kind of a jerk. I think his photos and over-all legacy speak for his eye for whimsy and childish awe in beauty, but he was also someone who had been idealised in the public eye. There are some fantastic books on his life that are amazing reads.

    I love that you’ve found inspiration in an artist. You might love Marc Chagall if you like the Tao Te Ching. Chagall was utterly and completely in love with his wife. His pictures move with the ideas and notions of how things feel. They really are truly lovely.

    If you ever get to Paris, go to the the Musee Picasso. You will fall even more in love with his work. I think I saw some pieces there that helped me to truly understand his genius.

    I wish you well in your blogging.

  7. Nasra says:

    Pablo was a great artist who experimented with new and innovative ideas such as cubism, where objects are represented by shapes (cubes),Which makez him so unique .

  8. Ethan Cramer says:

    “What I’ve learned from Picasso is that life is too short to be stuck in a cubicle 40 hours a week. Do you know how much of that time takes up your life? Way too much in my book.”

    I agree, no one wants that job but some of us starving artists have to make a living if we want to continue our art. Am I supposed to just quit my job? No

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