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Good things take time. Great things take a lifetime.

Happy Friday you wonderful humans.

Good things take time. Great things take a lifetime.

Let me paint you a word picture.

It’s mid-November in Paris, the year is 1840 and on the fourth floor of an apartment building in the middle of the city, a child is born. This child’s name is Oscar. There is nothing overly important about his birth, or his family. His father is a grocer and ship chandler (Today I learnt what a ship chandler was) and his mother is a singer.

During his childhood, potentially due to his mothers singing career, little Oscar was drawn to art. He grew up painting charcoal caricatures for his community. This love for art led him to meet a number of artists who all left their mark on Oscar’s ability as an artist. Unfortunately, in 1857 his mother passed away and he moved to live with his Aunt.

Oscar spent the next few decades of his life painting and moving around Europe. Spending time in France, England, the Netherlands, he even served for 7 years in the military in Algeria. His father had the option of paying to have Oscar exempted, but declined when Oscar would not give up painting.
During his time in the military, he fell ill, and after briefly going absent without leave, his Aunt removed him from the army when he agreed to complete a course at an art school. As time passed he started a family, travelled and painted and eventually purchased a home and gardens in northern France.

Oscar and his family worked tirelessly to build and improve the gardens. By the early 1890s he began to gain acclaim within the art community, with his paintings becoming more popular each year. Oscar continued to grow his gardens, and at times had up to 7 different gardeners, but he remained the architect of the project, continuing to shape his vision for this landscape. As he became wealthier due to the success of his paintings, he purchased more land, eventually acquiring a water meadow in 1893. He utilised this new space by including lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works

If you haven’t guessed by now, Oscar’s full name is Oscar-Claude Monet. One of the most decorated artists in history and has been labelled the ‘driving force behind impressionism’.

This is a cool story sure. But what does this have to do with me?

I hear you, and I’m getting to it.

Earlier this week I was introduced to the construct of Infinite and Finite games.

A finite game is one which is played for the purpose of winning. There is a full stop, a finish line. There are clear rules, objectives and boundaries in which the teams (or individuals) decide to abide by. Football is a perfect example. 120 minutes, 2 teams, 44 players, and a specific set of rules. In life, think of a project that you’re working on, a training session you’re about to execute, or a hike you’re about to embark on.

An infinite game is one played for the purpose of continuing the play. This is our life. The pursuit of excellence. If you’re playing the infinite game, there are no backwards steps, there is only progress, learning and growth.

A finite game is about victory, An infinite game is about fulfilment.

“A signpost stands at a fork in the road. Pointing in one direction, the sign says Victory. Pointing in another direction, the sign says Fulfillment. We must pick a direction. Which one will we choose?

If we choose the path to Victory, the goal is to win. We will experience the thrill of competition as we rush toward the finish line. Crowds gather to cheer for us. And then it’s over. And everyone goes home. (Hopefully, we can do it again).

If we choose the path to Fulfillment, The journey will be long. There will be times in which we must watch our step There will be times we can stop to enjoy the view we keep going. we keep going. Crowds gather to join us on the journey.

And when our lives are over, those who joined us on the path to Fulfillment will keep going without us and inspire others to join them too”.

Simon Sinek ‘The Infinite game’

Our mate Oscar was playing an infinite game. His art was not a means to an end, it was an end within itself.

He spent a lifetime sharpening the sword, cultivating his craft. He painted to create, to express himself and to bring his ideas to life. His painting was a source of fulfilment.

It would have been easier to sit back and let his gardeners do the work, but he had a vision, he pursued it and created pieces that will stand the test of time.

Regardless of what your thing is, even if you don’t yet have a thing, shift your attention to the infinite game that you’re playing.

Fulfilment awaits.

Art takes time
Monet grew his gardens
Before he painted them

Have an amazing day.


Below: One of Monet’s paintings from his Water Lily Series.

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