As a kid I loved watching Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting, and I’m so glad the old episodes are now available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
When I’m stressed or feel like the day has been long and hard, I often sit back with a cup of coffee and spend a little quality time with Bob. There he is up on the screen, talking to me with his soft soothing voice. Before too long, it’s time to drop a happy little tree or cloud into my sky.
But I think there’s a bigger message that Bob Ross conveys — something beyond dulcet tones and pretty colors — especially when I really pay attention and look for it.
Last night I focused in on that happy little tree…the one that came about after a happy little accident.
When he said that, I realized I’ve lost track of the number of times Bob inadvertently touches the canvas with his brush or flicks paint onto the canvas. And without missing a beat, he looks toward the camera and draws our attention to what just happened.
Bob Ross reminds all of us that out here in the un-edited world beyond TV-land, “there aren’t any mistakes, there are just happy accidents.” Then he turns a blob of paint into a squirrel, a log cabin, or a bush by the shore of a lake.
I’m always amazed at how he’s able to transform a mistake into a happy accident. He does it nearly every episode, creating something by accident that looks like it should have been there by design.
I think Bob Ross’s Happy Accident Outlook applies to a lot of things. Life is all about making choices, choices to view the unexpected as serendipity and not disaster.
Choices to see the unplanned as a new opportunity.
Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the mental picture of what my perfect life should look like, I get angry if things don’t work out the way I planned. I resist seeing the opportunity locked inside the adversity.
But choosing to seeing life events and curveballs as happy accident helps me build my emotional resilience even during the worst of times.
Focusing on the “happy” part of the “accident” makes a big difference when it comes to bouncing back from whatever life throws my way.
How many amazing experiences would I have missed out on if I’d never gotten lost along the way? How about you?
Happy accidents — they’re out there waiting for us to notice them.