post written by: Marc Chernoff

What Life Is All About


What Life Is All About

Once upon a time, there was a girl who could do anything in the world she wanted.  All she had to do was choose something and focus.  So one day she sat down in front of a blank canvas and began to paint.  Every stroke was more perfect than the next, slowly and gracefully converging to build a flawless masterpiece.  And when she eventually finished painting, she stared proudly at her work and smiled.

It was obvious to the clouds and the stars, who were always watching over her, that she had a gift.  She was an artist.  And she knew it too.  She felt it in every fiber of her being.  But a few moments after she finished painting, she got anxious and quickly stood up.  Because she realized that while she had the ability to do anything in the world she wanted to do, she was simply spending her time moving paint around on a piece of canvas.

She felt like there was so much more in the world to see and do – so many options.  And if she ultimately decided to do something else with her life, then all the time she spent painting would be a waste.  So she glanced at her masterpiece one last time, and walked out the door into the moonlight.  And as she walked, she thought, and then she walked some more.

While she was walking, she didn’t notice the clouds and the stars in the sky who were trying to signal her, because she was preoccupied with an important decision she had to make.  She had to choose one thing to do out of all the possibilities in the world.  Should she practice medicine?  Or design buildings?  Or teach children?  She was utterly stumped.

Twenty-five years later, the girl began to cry.  Because she realized she had been walking for so long, and that over the years she had become so enamored by everything that she could do – the endless array of possibilities – that she hadn’t done anything meaningful at all.  And she learned, at last, that life isn’t about possibility – anything is possible.  Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.

So the girl, who was no longer a girl, purchased some canvas and paint from a local craft store, drove to a nearby park, and began to paint.  One stroke gracefully led into the next just as it had so many moons ago.  And as she smiled, she continued painting through the day and into the night.  Because she had finally made a decision.  And there was still some time left to revel in the magic that life is all about.

Photo by: James Jordan

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77 Comments

  • Beautiful! So many of us have lived this, which makes this piece so incredibly moving. Thank you.

  • Thank you for reminding me :)

  • Many of life’s decisions are made for us as we go with the flow or do what our parents and peers advise. And the gift of doing what moves you is always tainted by the what if it does not work out. Society rates success by the money we earn and not our gift unless you are an entertainer.

  • Wow. This is indeed beautiful and so true. It reads as if it were a favorite childhood fairy story but as with all good fairy stories the message is very apt.

    Thank you

  • Magical. Sometimes the simplicity of the moment and its beauty is not understood. Sometimes our own hearts are not understood and then their voice is forgotten. Thank you for sharing this.

  • this is moving. it could be possibly in everybody’s heart and it’s good to be reminded that it’s not yet too late to start :)

  • Touching, but one must realize that art is not something that will keep a roof over your head or food in your stomach, so it may have been better for her to pursue her hobby later in life when she is settled.

  • This was a beautiful reminder to not give up on our dreams.

    Take time to ask yourself that if you knew now the consequences of your choice, would you still make that choice? If not, then start over again - but this time with something that speaks to your soul and gives your life meaning.

  • Wow. This is the story of my life, except the painting, if only I could paint.

  • Without starting a flame war, I’d just like to politely disagree with what Mr./Mrs. Realist said.

    The “art won’t put a roof over your head” argument is one that is based on antiquity and a relentless struggle to keep children and adults from pursuing their passions. If I had a nickel everytime someone said “You get paid THAT much to draw pretty pictures?!”…well, you know the rest.

    One of the main takeaways that can be gleaned from many of Marc & Angel’s blog is that you are truly the harbinger of your life. Should you choose to pursue art, pursue it with every bone in your body. Everything else will fall into place.

    Religion talks about having faith in a supreme being that you will be “saved.” Can we channel some faith towards our own, worldly selves? If we push ourselves to pursue our passions, where will it lead us?

    Sure, you could say that if you really truly tried to become an NBA player, the odds are against you. However, I think the flaw with this logic is that it assumes that you want to have a super-specific goal in mind for the long term. It doesn’t compensate for the fact that as you grow & learn, your personality and dispositions change. How many of us can say that we’re pursuing the passions that our 7 year old selves had?

    Although, in “reality” you may not end up becoming a professional NBA player, you might end up with a fulfilling life working as a coach…or a teacher…or a garbage man…or a president.

    Wouldn’t you say that that is a success?

  • thank you so much for writing this. This is the exact portrayal of what I went through this last year. Thank you so so so much. It’s like this was written specially for me, and it seems I made the right choice :)

  • Lovely story Marc. It reminds me that the present moment is always where the real action is and the real opportunity is.
    It’s so easy to get impatient with now and look around as you portray for something better.
    But the gold is always now because that’s where the truth of ourselves always is, and where the gold of our own Love can make a difference.
    Good to really look at that habit our mind has of dismissing what is present and casting a longing eye elsewhere…

  • @Jince: I couldn’t have said it better myself. ;-)

    @All: Your points are insightful and encouraging as always. And they almost always bring a smile to my face. Thanks for that.

    Keep living proudly… :-)

  • very inspiring story marc, times goes by so fast and we only notice that when we waste it

  • While I can appreciate that art might not keep a rof over one’s head, for me, the message was about following your passions.
    This message hits home for me, because I was that person. I wanted to teach art, but when I was graduating from high school, jobs in art education were dwindling and I was afraid to take a risk and go for something else. I ended up creating as a pastry chef, and now I work in the financial sector. I love what I do. Fortunately, I didn’t totally give up my creativity. I still bake and cook, I paint when I want to. I enjoy creating for the sake of creating and not because I’m under pressure to make money.
    For me, it was about finding balance.

  • Very touching story marc, we always should follow what we believe in. Thanks for sharing

  • bullseye, my friend!

  • This is very touching and creative story, yes we have many choices in life and we may do some of it all, but we can do it all! Pick one and follow your heart.

    I love painting too, so this was close to my heart!

    Preeti

  • I think once you make the decision to be something, anything, your golden. It’s the deciding that is hardest part of life. Good things she didn’t die with her music still in her. Whew, that would of been a waste.

  • absolutely inspiring parable. Such a well designed story in such a short amount of paragraphs. It is certainly true that while many spend time coming of age and realizing what they want to do, many miss opportunities that are calling in their hearts. Thanks for sharing. First post, keep blogging.

  • Really moving Marc. A story with an inspiring message. We are all here to activate something within us for the greater good, to contribute to this world. Forget how we look, our background or culture, we all have brilliance inside and the journey of life is to awaken that and let it shine. It’s what life is all about. Gorgeous sentiments in this post which started my day on such a thought provoking note.

  • As a teenager and barely a sophomore in college I can completely relate to the girl’s experience. There are so many possibilities, so many directions to choose from, that deciding which path I will trek has seemingly become an impossible task.

    The email update containing this post has been sitting in my inbox for the last four days. I just happened to get around to reading it today, when it was most needed. Thank you for sharing this. :)

  • It’s so much true in these few words you’ve written. I even found myself in her skin. Unluckily i’ve always seeing so many opportunities in my live but never had enough guts to choose one, even now when I know that everything is possible I’m still struggling with my decisions and in fact i’m don’t choosing anything…eh Anyway, thanks for such a beautiful text.

  • What a beautiful story. I was once that girl.

  • They say that in order to be happy you should do only the things important to you. This story capture this sentence so beautiful.

    Thanks :)

  • amazing how I read just the things that I am supposed to at the time I am supposed to. That is the exact question that is up for me to determine for myself at midlife..exactly what is it that moves me and what decisions will I have the courage to make for myself? thank you for this post…!

  • Yes. I know exactly—EXACTLY what you mean.

    Thank you.

    Connie

  • you just broke my heart and mended it again

  • Life is what we make it. Our lives are created by chance or by choice. If we don’t take control of our lives, our lives will take control of us.

    This article is all about creating life by choice. Choice involves decision-making. We will not be able to produce the life we want, unless we decide and do something about it.

    Not making a choice is making a choice itself. Not deciding is deciding not to decide. So, if don’t make our lives by choice, we are choosing to make our lives by chance.

    Yes, there are many possibilities, but which of these possibilities? If we don’t choose, life will choose for us, and it may not be to our liking.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this lovely story ;))

  • I am incredibly grateful that I am still young and read moving articles such as this. Whoever wrote this REALLY experienced what they were describing, and maybe had a little bit of regret.

    Now that I know such things as this, I feel even more empowered that I can make the decision - everything else around me will fall into place based on the decision. And it feels so incredibly right when things fall into place without you even trying.

  • I felt like someone was reading a document of my life…

  • Really Lovely!

    One can spend a lifetime contemplating about possibilities with the aim of finding something more meaningful than their true passion.

    But then, what can be more meaningful than doing what you love?

  • Im still walking the path of possibility… great post, thanks.

  • It is incredible how so many of us feel this! Thank you for this beautiful post. It just reconfirmed my faith in certain decision that I have taken lately.

  • I’m still young teen , but i absolutely love this website . And right now , going into senior school needing to make decisions about what I’m going to do with my life , this was really helpful !

    Thankyou !

  • Incredible story that touches my heart and soul which I long for this moment!

    I really like your story…Life is a continuous process of adjustments we must not stop growing and learning we have to move on….

    Thanks!

  • Wao it’s really great.
    I am about to post this article in our paper newsletter where we have blog-sphere section.
    Will it be all right?
    I want to spread this information to all the people
    in my country. People will know more about this blog and which will to benefit you.
    Thank you

  • Thank you for the reminder.

  • I really like your story…Life is a continuous process of adjustments we must not stop growing and learning we have to mover no…………..

    thanks

  • Beautiful and moving. Thank you so much.

  • Dear Mark, Thanks for such a wonderful post.
    I want to present few lines from the post in this reply, which i liked the most.

    “Life isn’t about possibility – anything is possible. Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.”

    “she had finally made a decision. And there was still some time left to revel in the magic that life is all about.”

    Comments by:
    Christopher Foster
    “Lovely story Marc. It reminds me that the present moment is always where the real action is and the real opportunity is.
    It’s so easy to get impatient with now and look around as you portray for something better.
    But the gold is always now because that’s where the truth of ourselves always is, and where the gold of our own Love can make a difference.
    Good to really look at that habit our mind has of dismissing what is present and casting a longing eye elsewhere…”

    Jince
    “Should you choose to pursue art, pursue it with every bone in your body. Everything else will fall into place.

    Religion talks about having faith in a supreme being that you will be “saved.” Can we channel some faith towards our own, worldly selves? If we push ourselves to pursue our passions, where will it lead us? “

  • That’s a great piece of work. I’m leading that path

  • Nice one , Yes it is , life is all about to decide which way you should be …. and at the end of the day a smile smile that make u proud to ur self…

    Thank you
    Arun Midturi

  • Can your words be any softer and wiser… my gosh… it so wonderful and so motivating.

    Thanks Marc for sharing.

  • Life is about freedom.

  • @Sharan - Exactly. Why did she cry?

  • Life is a continuous process. Thanks for this inspiring read.

  • I’ve seen so many things and heard a lot in my life. But after experiencing so much I have two questions always in my mind”

    What is life? What is the purpose of life?

    Is it simply being successful or being happy in any way. I’m try to work towards these things, but the road seems endless at times.

  • I do not regret one moment of my life.

  • Today I think I got the answer to the biggest question of my life, and the question is, What is life?
    Answer: Life is about defining a meaning to it.
    Explanation: In simple words it is all about defining the meaning of it and working towards it. All people must define life in their sense, like most of people define to themselves as having love, money, job and all that and they work towards to achieve (i.e. to be successful) what they think, they want. Some say it’s collecting worldly things, for others it is doing good for good deeds. For some (scientists) life is genetic material. The list goes on.
    Conclusion:Hey guys, life is short, find out what you want in life. That is what success means in your life. Define it and walk on the path to achieve the success.

  • Totally agree with Ronth.
    Thanks for sharing such a good one Marc & Angel :)

  • In life a man can do many amazing things…

    Thanks for this inspiring story.

  • Really inspiring story. It cleared my mind and gave me a positive perspective.

  • Really inspiring for me, especially the line “Life is about making a decision, a decision that moves you”

  • wow! The story so motivating. i felt it deep within me. Thank you!!! Life is indeed all about making your own decisions. And a right one at that. The decision u make today determines your future tomorrow. Be wise!!!

  • You can never be limited to the life that you live no matter what… you are what you choose and what you choose is what you live, you do not fail when you fall you fail when you refuse to stand once more… if there is life there is hope. thanks

  • Very inspiring. Thanks so much to remind me that life is all about making decisions that move you.

  • This story is so inspirational and so true. Life is full of possibilities so the power doesn’t lie in possibility, the power lies in decision making.

  • Can your words be any softer and wiser… my gosh… it so wonderful and so motivating. that/is/life

  • An inspiring article. I’ve always been searching to understand what life is, but now I’ve learned that life is all YOU think it is.

  • Beautiful combination of words and thoughts; I like the way you explain it

  • In search of question what is life? I got this story and really like one key message of the story that - life isn’t about possibility – anything is possible. Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.

    Mostly I have only thoughts, I not stress to realized, recognize and understand this thoughts in day to day rush hours. At last when I move back I realized that I did nothing, only I thought to do something but never taken action/ worked to bring it into existence.

    Now after going through this story, I am writing down my thoughts on paper so that I can prepare some action plan to bring these thoughts into existence in a particular time period.

    Thanks & Regards.

    Sharad Pant
    INDIA

  • You can never be limited to the life that you live no matter what… you are what you choose and what you choose is what you live, you do not fail when you fall you fail when you refuse to stand once more… if there is life there is hope. thanks. from swanky w

  • Very true. Thanks.

  • It’s changed my life perspective, especially on planning and then focusing.

  • In times like this… yes one need to focus on one decision. This is really good. But this lady has a talent which she focused on, what about “if someone realizes that he/she has none”, what will the person focus on?. Please, in need an answer/answers..

  • This story is really a wake up call. Something in me is telling me I have wasted much time, but now I am going to stand up and carry out the decision I know I need to make for my future. Thanks so much!

  • Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.

    One of the best lines I have read from this post: “life is not about possibilities but making a decision.” Loved it… thanks…

  • Just beautiful.
    This story is so relevant to me, I’m an artist struggling to decide what to do with my life, now I know it’s been in front of me all along and I’ve just been wasting time!

  • chukwuemeka john
    June 6th, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I really love this story and this site.

  • Life can be as complicated as one can think and as simple as one can actually make it.

  • Life is what you make of it.

  • Beautiful touching story !

  • Thanks for posting this enchanting life’s lesson, Marc. There are people who must choose to set aside their dream careers to take on jobs out of nessecities, such as raising young children as single parents. However, if the dreams are nutured in their hearts, they will feel the callings at the appropriate time so that they can fulfill their destiny. Do not give up hopes!

  • This article is very educative and true; thank you so much Marc.

  • Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.

    That part of the article really inspires me. Thanks Marc.

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