A painter had the ability to depict sceneries and landscapes 'as alive as life' on paintings. He always counted on his Guru, who was known painter in his time, for assessment of his work. However, every time the painter would show his painting, the Guru seemed to always find fault with them.
He would say "This color combination is not balanced, that outline is not well tackled, etc. Even though all his colleagues, friends, intimates and even rivals would comment on his paintings as 'The best piece of Art', the Guru, however, would always mock and ridicule.
Inspite of his agitation and unease, the painter was curious to know the reason behind Guru's outlook about his creative work. To resolve this, he kept one of his paintings half covered into dust in the outskirts of Guru's house and hid himself off in a corner to get his Guru's genuine reaction. He patiently waited for the Guru to appear. Finally, when the Guru came out he showed happiness and whispered: "My Oh my what a beautiful painting it is! Beautiful, color combination, nice depiction and everything just marvelous"
The painter came out of hiding and said, "Guruji this painting is my work. Please tell me, whenever I showed you paintings before, you would always ridicule them, but today when you see one of my works without knowing that it is mine, I see you appreciating it. Why?'
Guru said,' Look my Son, you are indeed a nice painter and have the potential to fame. In order to get the best out of you, I took the approach of being a stern critic. This has led to your striving towards excellence continuously. I know that if one gets the "tag" of being the best in his field, one would become complacent and not improve further.'
'In this world no body is perfect. You, me and every body else are student from birth to death, only varying criteria is knowledge. With every condemnation you discover some weaknesses of yours and improve towards your full potential. Don't close yourself with streak of sensitiveness; rather make yourselves open to Challenges. Getting the best 'Tag' is easy, but hard to maintain for once you feel you are the best, where is the room left to improve?'
The painter realized his mistake and bowing to Guru, he promised to keep trying for excellence till the end.