Inspiration & Motivation

When I was in my early 20’s, I was confronted with some serious difficulties that forced me to do something that was really scary to me at the time – to talk to someone about it.  To cut a very long story – very short, I realised that I was in many ways controlled by fear. Also, I was very reactive and was sporting a pretty poor self-image to boot. So I decided to rebuild myself, much like my mechanical father would rebuild an old engine.

I was fortunate that lot of wisdom suddenly came my way through friends, counsellors and various books & experiences. But then as the Buddhist proverb goes,

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

The end result was that I was transformed – not into a perfect person or anything remotely near, but into a person that had learnt that facing your fears and acquiring self-knowledge was a path to freedom.

“…man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty.”     Baha’u’llah

I increasingly became a person that would face challenges and risk failure – and in the process, my irrepressible and slightly mad energy was released. An energy that gets stronger, the closer I get to working with my passions and being ‘in my element’. Presenting Paint Storm performances is pretty much as close as it gets!

I now find myself wanting to share a few of my hard earned understandings –  that have been handed out to me from the ‘SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS’.  Perhaps, unlike me in my early days, not everything has to be learned the hard way!?

The writers, thinkers and philosophies that have influenced me most are as follows:

  • The Baha’i Faith – has taught me a lot about self-knowledge and valuing myself and others.
  • Steve Biddulph – ‘Manhood’, 1994 – A book about setting men free.
  • Stephen Covey – ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” 1989 – About being proactive
  • Viktor Frankyl – ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ ( 1959) 2006
  • Lyn Worsley – ‘The Resilience Donut – The Secret of Strong Kids’  2006
  • Ken Robinson‘The Element’ 2009 – Being in your element – the place to be!

Phil’s Blog Starts Here – Right here, Right now!

Well, what do you know – I am starting a blog!   Not something that I imagined I would ever do, but it’s probably time to try something new.  Actually, I have come to the conclusion that I really have learned a few things about how to make the most of life, and maybe some of these hard won lessons might just be worth sharing. Things that have helped me be successful, to become more resilient, to persevere when the chips were down, to believe in myself when no one else did and ultimately to find myself in my ‘element’, where my passion and skills have merged into a powerful and unstoppable purpose.

 Anyway, I am not entirely sure how this is going to pan out, but I think I may as well just get started and see what happens.


So my thought for today is…  that we should face our FEAR OF FAILURE. In fact we should embrace it. I have come to learn, both in art and in life, that the best education can be found in the ‘SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS’- failure is my best teacher – that is,  IF I take the right attitude towards it. When things go wrong, or worse, my plans & endeavours all CRASH & BURN, it can be devastating, no doubt about it. But if I can process that bad emotion – feel it, understand it and then let the bad feelings go; then I find then there is the wonderful opportunity to learn from the situation. But I must have the right attitude towards it. I have to embrace the failure,  sincerely search for what is it’s lesson here for me and then celebrate the victory. I have found that my career has really progressed quickly when I have adopted this attitude. It has led to breakthroughs that I would never have thought of, ideas I would never have considered and leaves me constantly striving for improvement. More than anything, whenever things go wrong, I find myself being positive. “Great! Everything has just gone to hell! I must be going to learn some thing really awesome today!”


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Phil Doncon Visual Artist Phil Doncon Visual Artist Phil Doncon Visual Artist Phil Doncon Visual Artist