Brad Rhoades Painting Collage

Life never stops.
Ups. Downs. Highs. Lows. Constant.
Take charge of your destiny. Look

This past November and December I traveled to Taiwan to visit family and friends. At the time however, Taiwan had a very strict, 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement in place for anyone entering the country. My wife and I were literally required to be in separate hotel rooms for 14 days. Not even the cleaning staff was permitted to enter the room. Complete isolation for 14 days. This isolation was non-negotiable if you wanted to enter the country, which I did very much.

What was negotiable was my mindset

How to respond to this situation was my choice. I could have chosen to feel like a victim. I could have chosen to feel helpless, trapped, angry, anxious, depressed. I could have gone so stir crazy from the isolation that I ended up getting kicked out of the hotel and, for that matter, the country. Or…

I could have chosen to stop and ask myself a couple of empowering questions. How can I make this an amazing experience or an incredible opportunity? How can I make this a pleasurable situation and one in which I not only learn more about myself but I also grow stronger from the experience?

I chose to make those 14 days amazing

I, of course, chose the latter. I chose to have the mindset that these 14 days were precious and that this was going to be an amazing journey that I would look back at later with fond memories.

And so I planned out my first 14 days in Taiwan by creating an art project for myself. I knew I was going to be in a very tight space with windows sealed shut, so I couldn’t paint in oils, which is my medium of choice. I had to choose something that was not going to make a mess in the room or have heavy fumes in a room with little ventilation. I decided to work with watercolor.

I tackled something new

It is important to point out that before I headed to Taiwan, I knew nothing about watercolors. I never really painted with them. I think that the last time I tried to paint in watercolor was over 30 years ago and I remember I did not have a lot of success. But I needed something easy to transport, easy to clean up, and small to pack in a suitcase. I purchased some 6-inch x 6-inch watercolor paper booklets to work with. I bought a clipboard to use as my “easel.” I brought a few small lights that would give me enough light to work in and to photograph my artwork. I planned to use the hotel hairdryer to speed up the paint drying process and brought along some photos to possibly work from.

Every morning I would wake up and start watching YouTube videos of artists using watercolor. I basically was giving myself a crash course in watercolor lessons and then afterwards I would give it a try!

At first, I did find it a bit intimidating, but yet I also felt a joy in learning something new. I felt that magic that I once felt as a kid in class when you got to learn something completely new and you really enjoyed “that moment.”

As the days went by, I grew more comfortable painting in watercolor and I was really getting into it. I was really enjoying my stay at the hotel, with my three daily vegetarian meals (my choice), my one English channel (which I never watched), time spent reading or listening to educational audio books, and of course, painting wonderful little paintings in watercolor.

In the above photo you can see some of the paintings that I created. On the bottom left you can see the one view that I had every day, my small room, and the little desk that I worked at each day.

Mindset makes such a difference

I chose to have the right mindset to make this an amazing experience…and it was. I do have fond memories of these precious moments in time. I chose to make the situation of being stuck in a small room by myself for 14 days my own “heaven on earth.”

When you are facing some situation that seems uncomfortable or even extremely unpleasant, stop for a moment. Ask yourself: How can I transform this experience into something that is amazing? Or at least make it an experience that I can learn and grown from?

Don’t become a victim to outside forces

Instead of becoming a victim, try asking yourself, how can I take charge of the situation? How can I figure out how to perform well in spite of the obstacles that lay before me?

Take charge of your thoughts. You have a choice in how you respond. You might not have control of what is happening on the outside, but you always have the power to choose how you respond on the “inside.”

You really do have the power to change your experience. Regardless of what life brings your way, choose to grow and look for the light. It’s there…if you are willing to flip on the switch. Find the switch, turn on your inner light and make your world a bright and beautiful place.

Thank you for letting me share this story with you.

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