A Good Workman Never Blames His Tools

Mikey is an artist. He loves to paint very much, and can paint on any surface he has the opportunity.

But he is poor and cannot afford much in the way of modern art tools, like watercolors, crayons, special knives, etc.

Sometimes, all that’s available to him is a piece of charcoal, but he’d still paint great pictures like this one:

In fact, he can use pretty much anything to make paint – clay, oil, crushed leaves and flowers, roots, animal extracts, etc. If you can think of it, he’s probably used it to make paint. And for brush, he sometimes has to chew one end of a stick.

When asked how he is able to paint such great works, he says he is a good artist, and good artists paint good pictures.

Then there’s Raffy.

Raffy is also an artist, but he lives in the 21st century. He has access to all the modern tools you can imagine, including a blazing fast, sleek computer, with programs on it which he can use to augment his art.

Yet, he consistently produces not-very-good art.


When asked why the painting above was so bad, he said he didn’t have the right size brush at the time.

Sometimes, it’s the type of paint he has that’s the problem – it’s too thick, or it’s too oily, or it’s not the right shade of color, plus a thousand other excuses.

It may even be the program he’s using on his PC. Either that program lacks the exact tool he needs, or it is too slow, or the limitations are too many.

They showed him Mikey’s work and told him Mikey doesn’t have access to all the tools that he does, he said Mikey’s work is so good because he has been using those inferior tools all his life and has gotten so good with them.

Then they asked him why he couldn’t then train with his own tools and get very good. Again, he said it is the 21st century, and if companies would just manufacture better paints, better brushes, faster computers, etc, his work would become much easier and better.

A good workman never blames his tools

In truth though, Raffy has failed to realize that it is not the tool that makes the workman. It is the ingenuity and ability of the workman to think outside the box that makes great work.

You could have the best tools in the world, yet if you are not ready to engage your creativity, you will produce outputs that are subpar.

Remember that the original Mikey (Michelangelo) didn’t even have access to many of the tools a modern artist has today, and yet we consider him to be one of the greatest artists to have ever lived.

A good worker knows that he himself is the most important tool in his tool-shed, but a bad worker spends his whole life looking for that tool that will help him to work better.

Samuel is an avid reader and a freelance writer, in that order. He fancies himself funny, but his friends regularly don't laugh at his jokes. I have been a student of personal development for several years, and I created this blog to share my knowledge with others and help them become better versions of themselves.

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