You may remember Bob Ross, the iconic art instructor and PBS TV host The joy of painting. It’s been over 25 years since his death, but I bet fans can still hear his brush rustle across the canvas.

It wasn’t just the artwork that kept Americans coming back for more. Bob’s network noted that approximately 90% of all the viewers never painted with him. So what makes us remember his many “happy little trees” all these years later? Ross used key ingredients to grow his business and exemplified traits that allowed him to leave a legacy.

Here’s how you can do the same…

Despite the millions of viewers tuning in to watch Ross, it felt like he was talking to YOU. Between strokes, the artist uttered adages that really made you think.


“You can do whatever you want,” Bob said. “It’s your world.”

People want to know that they matter and how you treat customers can impact your business. News travels quickly when a customer is unhappy with a service or product. People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.

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Words have an impact

It wasn’t just the sounds of the brush, but the way Ross spoke. Her deep voice, barely above a whisper, managed to hold the audience’s attention for the entire episode. It has found a way to draw you in by unveiling a snow-capped mountain or a vibrant waterfall.

The one thing we always have control over is how we speak. Whether you’re talking to a customer or your staff, the language you choose matters. Long after a sale or purchase, people will remember whether you treated them with respect or not. Choose your words wisely because once they’re spoken, you can’t take them back.

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Perseverance makes all the difference

Bob Ross was missing a finger, but he never let it interfere with what he was trying to accomplish. Even though he made a mistake in a painting, he remained calm and made the necessary changes to continue.

“Have you ever made mistakes in life?” he once said. “Let’s make them into birds now.”

Don’t get so busy chasing after profits and growth that you miss the most critical part: people. Without people, your business cannot exist, and how you make them feel and the words you use matter.

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