That never made much sense to me.
He also said, "Don't tell me about what you can't do. Show me what you can do."
That made some sense to me, and I said those words to myself today when I whined that I couldn't draw because I didn't have enough time. Wah, wah.
My whining started when I spotted an amazing pink flower. I wanted to draw it nice and slow, to look at each petal and try to render it's color and shape on paper. But I had no time for that.
After stomping my foot and pouting, "I can't stay here long enough to draw, wah," I pulled out a couple of sharp pencils and my Moleskine to see what I could do with what time I had.
My drawing is not a great piece of art, but making it was a great way to spend five minutes. After putting my pencil to the paper and my mind on the flower, I forgot my feelings of time deprivation and instead realized that a quick sketch in a notebook is better than a big bunch of nothing. It's better than a sharp stick in the eye, too.
My dad's sharp words and quick phrases, from way back when, stay with me long after he's been gone.