Lessons From Bob Ross

Recently my girlfriend has been watching a lot of Bob Ross. I never really knew much about him at the time. I vaguely remember him being on the TV when I was a kid, and also some references to him in shows like Family Guy. 


But I had never really watched him. Watching how he paints is incredibly calming. I was curious about his attitude to life as he uses expressions like, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Or, “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

So I did a little research on him. It turns out he was in the military before paining, and used to have to shout at people all day. He decided when he left the military, he would never raise his voice again.

So years of shouting at people to do their jobs made Bob Ross become someone who people now watch to relax as he is so calm. So what can we learn from this?

Well, maybe being calm is infectious? People have actually done studies into Bob Ross and his recent fame resurgence. He has become very famous online, he was one of the most streamed artists on twitch recently. Folks have been using him to help with their anxiety. Bob realised that by being calm and helping others it would improve his own life.

Could we do this in our day to day lives? On the team you work in is it easier to blame others or try and help? Personally I would say it is much easier to blame someone else and pass along the problem. Do you ever catch yourself saying, “Thats above my pay grade,” or “thats another teams problem”.

I have definitely used that last excuse before. But it doesn’t fix anything, and it also doesn’t make me feel any better. I don’t get home from work feeling like I have done a good job.

It also doesn’t allow for collaboration in a company. So instead of quickly getting annoyed and blaming someone else. Maybe we could try Bobs approach and calmly turn the mistake into a happy little accident and use empathy to help solve the problem.


Instead of passing the problem, try and fix it by working with the other team. Maybe it’s a problem between test and dev, can we pair together and see if understanding each others view point can help? Or is it a problem between the front end team and the back end team, could we mix up the teams skills for a week and see what happens when we work together to fix the problem?

Yes, this is much easier said that done. But I think if we start small and try help others we will find our jobs to be much more rewarding.

I will leave you with some wise words from Bob Ross: “Didn’t you know you had that much power? You can move mountains. You can do anything.”


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