Michelangelo saw the art of sculpture as, crucially, a process of self-discovery, of self-actualization. – Miles Unger, Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces
In some respects, Michelangelo was no different than any other artist through the ages: he worked his art because he was compelled to by something inside him. This compulsion was put there by nature – or providence or whatever force your belief system tells you – and he was merely answering it. It is the life of every artist from time immemorial: you say what you feel needs to be said in your chosen medium, whether you end up living down the ages or selling your wares at the local crafts fair.
But we do not have to be artists or live down the ages in order to attain self-discovery and self-actualization. It is there for the taking for all of us, every day. All of us – you, me, your aunt in Duluth – were born with certain talents. All of us can do something well. The happiest lives are lived by those who utilize those talents.
That we can all do something well is a lesson learned in school, where some were good at math classes, some better at English and some were good athletes. An annoying few were good at everything, but they were the exception. Everyone could do something well.
It’s no different as adults. We still have things we can do well and I think we are happiest when we are doing these things. It doesn’t have to make us famous or rich, it only has to be important to us. That’s why you are reading this, because it was important to me to write it; something inside me said this is what I was meant to write today.
Self-discovery and self-actualization are there for anyone willing to follow their heart and trust their instincts. Your heart will tell you where you want to go. Your instincts will show you how to get there. The journey to self-discovery and self-actualization is long, but it is the only journey that matters.