Michelangelo once said, “every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
Each and every one of us is a sculptor of the most important kind. We chisel away at our lives with every action. The question is, to what extent are we conscious about the lives we are shaping and how we are shaping them? To what extent are we conscious about the affect that our lives have on those other sculptors around us? To what extent do we know how to use our sculpting tools to reveal the forms deep inside that we were born to share with the world?
When I was a boy, I went through a phase where I tried to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I somehow had the impression that I had to figure this stuff out first, then make it happen second. I didn’t realize that our lives are always unfolding, that we are always evolving. I didn’t realize that thought, choice and action were the precision tools with which we continually discover and reveal ourselves in this extraordinary world.
What if a dream is simply an unrealized truth? What if it is a thought without action? To fulfill a dream of being a writer, for example, all you have to do is write. Then you are being a writer. If you allow your worries about whether or not you are a “good writer” to stand in your way, you tend to not write as much. You put the chisel down and stare at the unformed substance of what you could be. You resign yourself to the life of the unrealized dreamer.
Gandhi was not a dreamer. He was a sculptor who revealed his truth to himself and the world through thoughtful action, one after another. As he said, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” One chisel strike after another, he blundered and failed, succeeded and emerged, blundered and failed, succeeded and reemerged day after day, year after year. His truth was not revealed at the end of his life, but every moment that his momentum carried him forward.
I am an author—not because anyone has bought my books, but because I have written them, and because I take every step I can to carry them with every action that I take in the world. Through the process of writing, I reveal myself to myself. I reveal myself in the world. I chisel away at the substance of a writer, and in doing so I continually become one. Inevitably a better and better one.
Are you a dreamer? Do you ponder possibilities and chat about them over stimulating yet soon forgotten meals?
Or are you a sculptor? Do you take action to reveal your truth and form one chisel strike at a time?