Captain’s Blog: The Wisdom of Bob Ross

Dear Collectors,

Wherever you’re at in your mental health journey, there are days that you will struggle. There are days when you cannot get out of bed and when you will feel like giving up. Those days are an unavoidable part of the human experience, but when they do come, I’d like to offer you some wisdom, via the happiest painter to ever live, Bob Ross.

You can do anything here — the only prerequisite is that it makes you happy.

I think about this one a lot. Not long ago, a relationship that was really important to me was dwindling, and as it neared its end, this woman that I cared so much about, said to me, “Life is to short to do things that don’t make you happy.” I think about that when there are things–whether it’s my job, a relationship, or just life itself–that make me miserable. It makes me want to write, to blog, to create–because that act of creation is what makes me happy. It’s why I’m still running this blog after six years.

Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.

In a social media-driven world, we often only see the finished product–presented to us with an Insta filter and all-emoji caption. This creates a culture that thrives on the toxicity of comparisons: “I’m not as beautiful as ” or I’m not as talented as [writer/actor/artist on Twitter].” It’s easy to forget the hours of work that went into something when all you see is the final draft.

Listen to Bob Ross, y’all. Don’t listen to the internet or to crappy YA fiction–no one is born with a complete talent. Sure, some of us pick up some things faster than others (like, I can write but do not hand me a sketchpad because all you’ll get are stick figures), but it still requires practice. The more you work at something, the easier it becomes. It’s like working out, but I don’t do that either so that’s by hearsay rather than firsthand knowledge.

The very first dress I ever sewed, I screwed up completely. I cut the pattern upside down, so when I put the dress on, all the palm trees were facing the wrong way (okay, tbh, they were upside down…). Sixteen years, lots of tears, and a LOT of practice later, I sewed the elven princess dress of my dreams. Point being: if you want to be good at something, keep doing it. Your first try, or even the first hundred, may be complete crap, but it’s all part of the process.


Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is.

This one is particularly difficult for me sometimes, because the older I get, the more I become a creature of habit. This is partially due to my anxiety, but also because, once you become accustomed to a way of life, change is immeasurably difficult. There are many days when I want to change careers, or go live in a tree in New Zealand, but complacency holds me back. But, Bob Ross is right–there is nothing to be gained by not trying. It doesn’t need to be a big risk. Maybe you talk to that cute someone you’ve been interested in. Maybe you start training for a marathon. Maybe you finally start writing that book you’ve been talking about for ten years (yes, that one is directed at me…).

Whatever it is: do it. Bob Ross would want you to.