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Last Updated on January 17, 2018

15 Life Lessons From Banksy Street Art That Will Leave You Lost For Words

15 Life Lessons From Banksy Street Art That Will Leave You Lost For Words

Using striking stencil art and profound imagery, Banksy has captured the interest of art lovers, activists, and graffiti artists around the globe. His mysterious identity (and refusal to use social media accounts) has only sparked more intrigue, with media outlets and fans prying to earn a peek into his life. But why use graffiti as a means to communicate?

By displaying art in crowded cities across the world, Banksy puts social and political issues in our face. These pieces force us to stop and think—something that we often avoid doing in our day-to-day lives.

15. Set moral boundaries.

Banksy Hitchiker to Anywhere

    This ominous image of a hitchhiking Charles Manson stands outside of London’s Archway Tube Station. Could it be a reference to the pervasive influence of evil in society? An ominous warning that evil can be lurking on any corner? Perhaps we should be more restrictive of what kinds of influences we allow in our everyday lives.

    14. Remember where you came from.

    Banksy Apeman

      Those who pass this piece in Los Angeles may wonder if they’re being warned, mocked, or simply entertained by a peculiar caveman with his fast food combo meal. Perhaps this is simply a subtle reminder of our human nature—and of those things that we’ve adopted that aren’t so natural.
      As crazy as it is to see a caveman carrying a fast food tray, is it really that much crazier for us to consume grease-soaked, nutritionless meals?

      13. Let your actions match your words.

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      banksy street art meaning

        Have you ever been frustrated by a parent who said, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Maybe Banksy was too, before allegedly creating this piece in the London Borough of Hounslow. This piece brings to light the contradiction between what human behaviors are expected, and how people actually behave. We’re often told to be good by some of the very people that are doing just the opposite. Actions speak louder than words, so make sure your actions don’t contradict your words.

        12. Everyone’s got skeletons.

        Park Street Banksy

          This rather humorous scene is one of Banksy’s most famous, painted in Bristol, England. Along with the idea that we’ve all got some things to hide, this piece seems to warn us that things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t blindly believe everything you’re told, as someone’s dishonesty may be creating an illusion.

          11. There is always hope.

          there_is_always_hope_by_jackhollow

            This message is clearly etched in the wall beside this London piece. While the image may symbolize loss, the text clearly tells us that no amount of loss can eliminate hope. This is a gentle reminder to remain positive instead of wallowing in our losses.

            10. Strive for peace.

            Banksy Airstrike

              This San Francisco piece demands that we examine ourselves—particularly, how we solve problems. Instead of resorting to violence and immature tantrums, we should aim to be reasonable and fair. This is one of many Banksy pieces that pushes us to question our government and the decisions made by our leaders.

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              9. Love is not lust.

              Banksy New York

                This dismal scene, painted outside of a New York City strip club seems to highlight the ugly truth about society’s sex obsession: it never leads to fulfillment—at least not for this poor guy. Banksy posted the phrase, “waiting in vain” along with a picture of the stencil on his website, suggesting he’s in the wrong place if he wants to find genuine love.

                8. All love is valid.

                Love Banksy

                  This piece, outside of a Brighton pub, blatantly displays two uniformed male officers kissing. Banksy seems to be asking us, “Who’s to say what is appropriate?” Whether “conventional” or not, love is love. This piece suggests that love should be accepted publicly and displayed freely, no matter what kind it is.

                  7. Be humble.

                  monkey

                    Let’s face it: most humans need a lesson in humility. We’ve caused tragedies for other species, the environment, and other humans without even recognizing any wrong-doing. Banksy reportedly painted several of these pieces, reminiscent of the popular anecdote: don’t step on the little people to get to the top, as you may need them on your way back down. More importantly, don’t step on people because it’s wrong. Practice humility, and you will naturally earn respect without having to mistreat anyone.

                    6. Utilize kindness.

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                    Banksy Flower Thrower

                      This London piece of a protester throwing a bouquet of flowers may be Banksy’s most famous piece thus far. The remarkable idea behind this piece is the use of unexpected weapons. The protester fights not with a grenade or other harmful device, but with an innocent bouquet of flowers. This suggests we may be able to get more done by negotiating kindly, not malevolently.

                      5. Express yourself.

                      Bansky LA

                        This New York piece illustrates self-expression with a graffiti artist puking flowers. The caption tied to this piece is “better out than in,” indicating that if you have something to express, it’s best to let it out rather than hold it in. We certainly wouldn’t hold it in if we felt the need to puke. So why hold in our emotional needs, like the need to express and create? Whether physical or emotional, some things need to be let out, lest we be left with a sour stomach.

                         4. Live in the moment.

                        Bansky Texting

                          One of Banksy’s most recent pieces, entitled Mobile Lovers, was also done in Bristol. This not-so-subtle reference to modern technology warns us to be conscious of what we’re spending our time and attention on. Nothing that exists on a screen in more important than what is happening right in front of us. By being constantly preoccupied, we could miss out on meaningful opportunities and connection with others.

                          3. Don’t be so full of yourself.

                          Banksy Echoes in Eternity

                            Another New York piece of Banksy’s casually knocks us down to reality. As humans, we like to believe that our lives have significance and that we’re unique from everyone else. This piece can be viewed as something that knocks us down a peg, but in a good way. Everyone lives the same struggle. Life is finite, and that’s okay. Don’t do things in order to be remembered; do things in order to be a good person.

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                            2. Don’t let others deter you.

                            Banksy Dreams Cancelled

                              This Boston piece, one of Banksy’s most famous, takes yet another swing in the name of disappointed idealism. Many of us feel forced to give up our dreams, never pursuing them due to financial burdens or other hardships. This may serve as a wake up call for those of us who’ve been asleep. Ultimately, we should follow our dreams, regardless of outside discouragement.

                              1. Listen to your heart.

                              Bansky Doctor

                                Perhaps the most obvious and adorably heartwarming translation of this San Francisco piece is “listen to your heart.” While harsh realities and unforgiving satire are typically Banksy’s style, a bit of optimism seeps through here. This listening doctor serves as an inspiring reminder. Are we living up to the request?

                                Featured photo credit: Gary Soup via images.search.yahoo.com

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                                Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

                                7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

                                What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

                                For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

                                It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

                                1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

                                The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

                                What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

                                The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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                                2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

                                Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

                                How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

                                If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

                                Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

                                3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

                                Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

                                If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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                                These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

                                What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

                                4. What are my goals in life?

                                Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

                                Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

                                5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

                                Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

                                Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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                                You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

                                Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

                                6. What do I not like to do?

                                An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

                                What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

                                Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

                                The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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                                7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

                                Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

                                But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

                                “What do I want to do with my life?”

                                So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

                                Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

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