I work harder than anyone who has ever lived. I am not well and worn out with this stupendous labor, and yet I am patient to achieve the desired end. – Michelangelo, Letter to his brother, while painting Sistine Chapel.
Those who have read more than casually about Michelangelo know he was intent on being great. He recognized he had prodigious talent and knew what he was meant to do with it. He was supremely confident he could produce what would live down the ages and he spent his life trying to do just that. The Sistine Chapel is an excellent example of this as Michelangelo dismissed Pope Julius’ vision for his chapel’s ceiling and implemented his own vision for what the chapel should look like.
…I am patient to achieve the desired end.
The Sistine Chapel took several years to complete. From both an artistic and logistic standpoint, it was an effort without precedent in human history. As both chief executive and artistic director Michelangelo faced supreme challenges, challenges that might have scared off those without his vision and commitment to getting the most out of his life.
Michelangelo’s lessons about putting in the work required to maximize the abilities we were born with and following the path you were meant to take are lessons that, like the Sistine Chapel, will live down the ages. Because the rest of the world may – or may not – notice doesn’t mean we don’t do what’s important to us. Just because our goals may not bring it us acclaim or renown doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and watch six hours of TV every day. All of us were born not only with talents, but with the instincts required to get the most out of them. All we have to do is listen to them. Following our instincts and getting the most out of our talents is the only way we are going to be of any use to ourselves and our fellow humans.
We must have a plan for our lives and that plan must utilize the talents we were born with. We must be patient to achieve our desired end. Few accomplish what they were meant to accomplish in short order. For most, the road is long. We must have the patience to go the entire distance.