Michelangelo was a great artist – few would argue.
He took 2 years to create his masterpiece – the sculpture David.
Two years of painstaking work – literally carving his vision out of solid marble.
What I find interesting about sculptors is they create art by removing that which is non-value added. By carving out non-essentials, the art rises to the surface.
You need to be the sculptor of your life.
Think about the amount of “stuff” you accumulate in life. The experiences, knowledge, scars, skills and responsibilities. On any given day – consider all the thoughts, hopes, fears, opinions and feelings you possess. Ever feel like everyone except you owns your life?! How is it so much can get attached to any one person?
Stop for a minute. Be like the sculptor and look at this chaos as if it were a big block of marble. Consider all of the things that consume you and ask:
- Does it add value?
- Is it making me a better version of myself?
- Why did I start to do it in the first place?
- Do I need this to get me where I want to go?
- Is it there out of default or is it my deliberate choice?
If not, why keep it? If it isn’t helping you it becomes dead weight. Too much dead weight simply slows you down. Left unmanaged – it can stop your journey altogether!
My advice – learn to sculpt. Your life is the block of marble; carve out that which isn’t adding value to the final product. Great sculptors have a vision for the masterpiece they want to create. Where you and I may of just seen a big rock, Michelangelo saw David. He meticulously removed the excess that didn’t add value to his vision. Slowly, through the dust, magnificence emerged!
Your block of marble is the collection of all the tasks, responsibilities, obligations, commitments, demands, expectations, relationships in your life. Sometimes it feels just like a rock – heavy, cumbersome and unchangeable.
Remember – you have a hammer and chisel – it’s called choice.
The power to choose is the key to carving out the “marble” that isn’t contributing to your vision. While it doesn’t always feel like it – much of what you accumulate (and maintain) is because you allow it.
Don’t get me wrong – it isn’t easy. Choice requires courage – it is scary to start knocking out big chunks – you rationalize why you still need them.
I challenge you to be the Michelangelo of your life. Carve away what isn’t adding to the future state.
Here is a strategy to consider. Track your time for 2 weeks in as much detail as possible. This data is the “rock” of your life. This is your block of marble.
Grab your chisel and hammer and start to examine. Select various “chunks” and follow this 4-step process:
- Review and Reacquaint (what is it, how did it get here, what was the original purpose?)
- Reevaluate from present and future-state perspective (is it adding value to my current situation or is it essential for where I want to go?)
- Choose (should I keep it or let it go? Be deliberate – don’t just keep doing it for no reason.)
- Reposition or Remove (if you keep it – tie it to a goal. Give it purpose. If you remove it – do so with conviction and without regret. It serviced its time, but is no longer helping.
Get started today. Watch throughout the week for opportunities to carve out that which isn’t contributing to the ultimate masterpiece. Make deliberate choices.