Dump Your Bucket List

Advice Column

Dear Friend,

When Michaelangelo was asked how he created his Statue of David, he answered, “I just saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

In From Strength to Strength, Arthur C. Brooks says you are thinking about it wrong if you view your life as an empty canvas on which you need to create. Instead, he says you are already a complete work of art. Your life’s masterpiece emerges as you chip away at everything that is not the essence of you.

You may have a bucket list. And I’m a collector of experiences, too. I view life as a treasure hunt for new places, special people, and neat experiences. I believe in pursuing our dreams now. So, I’m not ready to completely toss out my bucket list.

But Brooks makes the point that if we think we have to add things to a bucket that starts out empty in order to have a fulfilling life, we can become frenzied. In that state, we risk missing the joy of the journey we’re on. 

Beyond that, we miss seeing that there’s an angel inside already. YOU have been there all along.

Today, I’m reflecting on how I might differentiate between what part of my life is sculpture and which part is stone that I can chip away.

How do you filter opportunities? How do you know when you’ve hit bedrock on who you are at your core? How do you slow down to enjoy the journey?

Whatever your methods, here’s to hoping you can always see a clear vision of the masterpiece that you are!




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