Michelangelo (the painter and sculptor, not the turtle) was an incredible artist who rivalled the great Leonardo Da Vinci in his mastery of creating timeless pieces of art. Like the sixteen chapels that he tiled the roof of (or something). One of my favourite quotes about Michaelangelo is regarding his statue of David. “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” To him it was not a monumental task to turn this hunking piece of marble into a statue. His frame of mind was that the statue was already in there, his job as he saw it was to simply remove all of the parts that were not the statue. How incredible is that? To think about a project in that way. Rather than seeing it as some huge uphill struggle he understood it from a completely different point of view – just remove the parts that are not the statue. Simples.
No matter what your reasons for reading this series there is one idea to keep in mind. To look up from this page and see the world. There is an underlying sense that we are all competing against each other. We all want to either be on the front of a magazine or look like the person there. We compete in the workplace, we compete in the gym. Every chance we get all any of us do is compare ourselves to other people – am I as good as him? I’m definitely better than her. What if I can’t beat this person or that person. Ultimately the game of life has a competitor of one – you.
There is no one else to beat.
There will always be someone else with the shinier toy or the flatter stomach or the bigger bank balance. No matter what you do there will always be more people who are indifferent to what you have achieved. I’d like to think that Thomas Edison (the star of part 4) considered his disaster at the factory in those terms. Looking up at the inferno he decides it just doesn’t matter. If he did feel anger and he dug deep into it to understand it what would he have found? What is the root of the anger? Maybe that all of his ideas were up in flames or that his competitors would get ahead of him. Perhaps he could be annoyed at his livelihood being taken away. All of these reasons can be disregarded because the competition was only ever with himself.
If you insist on outsourcing your happiness to what other people think you will never be truly at peace. Shazam! Philosophy bomb! You were not expecting that. It is true but it is difficult to do. To me it becomes part of the process or the journey to get to inner peace. Jesus Kevin, take it back a notch I hear you say. I sure won’t.