Bob Ross was an icon whose paintings were breathtaking, whose style was always positive, whose afro knew no bounds. This amazing talent hosted The Joy of Painting for 31 seasons, during which he painted hundreds of masterpieces and inspired millions of people to explore and embrace the magic of creating art. When he died from lymphoma in 1995, he left behind a family and a life well-lived - but he also left behind a legacy of positive energy and determined happiness for those who loved his work.
"The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe." - Bob Ross (Tweet This!)
As a writer, I relate so strongly to his wish for a better, happier world. He was once asked why he painted such "happy worlds," why he so loved "big fluffy clouds" and "happy little trees," and his answer was an unabashed and completely unashamed explanation. He said simply, "That's why I paint. It's because I can create the world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it."
"Anything we don't like, we'll turn it into a happy little tree or something, because as you know, we don't make mistakes, we just have happy little accidents." - Bob Ross (Tweet This!)
He believed in himself, and he believed in his art - so much so that he chose to share it with others for 31 seasons of teaching his favorite strategies. But Boss Ross's great strategy of confidence and belief in oneself harkens back to an older generation, back to a man of power and influence even greater than that of the lowly American painter - Theodore Roosevelt.
"Believe you can, and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt (Tweet This!)
Theodore Roosevelt was an author, a soldier, an explorer. He became President largely by accident, searching for reform in New York until the surrounding politicians, distrusting and frustrated with his determination, pushed him into place as the Vice President under President William McKinley - solely to get him out of the way. But it was McKinley's assassination in 1901 that gave Teddy Roosevelt his first real taste of Presidential power.
He was the 26th President of the United States of America, and it was during his tenure as President that acts were first passed to regulate the production and quality of American meat and medicinal drug labeling. Teddy Roosevelt was a conservationist as well, and is credited with the establishment of protection for over 200 million acres of land designated for use as national parks, monuments, forests, and wildlife reservations - but perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the treaty that ultimately ended the Russo-Japanese war, a feat that made him the first American to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
But it wasn't superhuman power that made him the success that he was - it was his simple belief that if he stayed the course and kept pushing toward his goals with tenacity and confidence, then he could change the world. And he did.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt (Tweet This!)
Theodore Roosevelt was a man many people didn't trust, a man many people didn't truly believe in until there was no other choice than to stand behind him. But he was also a powerful man with a vision, a man with a fire in his spirit, a man with a sense of strong patriotism that led him to serve our country in various ways for the majority of his life.
More importantly, and in a way that applies much more strongly to today's average everyday human, one thing that both Bob Ross and Teddy Roosevelt had in common was this philosophy:
And in the end, what it boils down to is the everyday, real-life application of this simple tenet: "Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
So go out there and tackle this week with strength and confidence, believing that what you have to offer the world is something great, something productive, something powerful, something of value. Believe it - because only in the power of your own belief, does your potential come to life.