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Editor’s Note: We’re gonna start with a short history lesson, but trust me, it’s gonna come around to you pretty quickly.

In the mid-15th century, a famous artist named Agostino di Duccio was commissioned to create a sculpture for the church in Florence Italy.

He went to the quarry and selected a massive piece of marble. When it was brought back to his studio he began chiseling it down. But, alas, he discovered that the marble was too thin and had too many flaws. It was a crappy piece of stone.

So he abandoned the project. After all, he was too good to waste time on something like that.

Ten years later, the church still wanted the sculpture so they commissioned another famous artist to give it a go and gave him the same block of marble.

He also chiseled away on the stone for awhile. But soon he agreed with di Duccio. The slab of marble sucked. It was flawed. It would break apart and it was too thin to create anything worthwhile.

That master artist abandoned the project as well. I suppose he had better things to do than waste time with flawed materials

So the partly-chiseled, sad excuse for a marble block was moved to the back corner of a warehouse, where it sat collecting dust for 35 years.

Then a haughty young 26-year-old came around. The church, thinking maybe everybody forgot how bad the stone was, told this lad to make something of it.

He looked at this stone that was too tall, too thin, too flawed and had been chiseled over already by two other artists – and he began to work.

The kid’s name was Michelangelo and what he created out of that supposedly flawed stone was the statue of David, arguably the most famous (and beautiful) sculpture in the world.

    The Perfect Myth

    The purpose of this story is to talk about your situation at work – and maybe your situation in life.

    And to discuss perfection.
    Perfection doesn’t exist.
    You can try looking for it. Go ahead, go nuts. But you’re never gonna find it.

    If you’ve raised a child, you know what I mean. Just when everything seems to be going perfectly, it all changes. And usually not for the better.

    You may have experienced this at work too. Usually, when you start a new job in a leadership position, there are problems. Maybe it’s the culture, maybe it’s the people or it could be the processes.

    Whatever it is, you are oftentimes given flawed materials to work with, and it’s your job to turn them into something that can flourish and last a lifetime.

    It’s not easy. But nobody ever claimed it would be.

    Maybe Di Duccio thought it would be easy. Michelangelo didn’t. He knew the mess he was getting into.

    Which reminds me of my daughter.

    What You Do With Trash

    My daughter is ten years old. One afternoon about a month ago she was bored, like ten-year-olds claim to be.

    We were sitting at the dining room table and there was an old candle between us. I’d been meaning to throw that darn candle in the trash. It had lost its use.

    Anyway, as my daughter was trying to figure what to do, she decided to play with fire, which is always a stellar way to burn away childhood boredom. She began melting the remaining wax from that old candle and then had the idea to mold it into something new.

    “Yeah, that’s not going to work out so well,” I said to her, mostly because I saw a future in which I was scraping wax off our dining room table.

    “Sure it will,” she replied in her all-knowing way.

    As it turns out, she was right. Her candle upcycling experiment actually worked. She made a candle and, dare I say, it was pretty darn good.

    So she got more wax and made more candles. And then the next day she decided to try and sell the candles out in front of our house.

    As it happens, people loved the candles and she sold them all really quickly.

    We are now one month later and she’s selling candles like hotcakes. She makes candles every night after doing her homework and has even recruited a schoolmate as her first employee.

    Here’s my point, that original candle was trash. I was going to throw it away.

    But one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

    It’s not about what you have in life, it’s about what you do with it.

    And that’s where your choice comes in.

    It’s Your Marble

    Think about the problems you are facing now. Is it an employee issue? A resource problem? Is there a relationship that is fading fast?

    Somehow, in some way, you have a marble block in front of you that is misshapen and flawed and prone to break into bits.

    You can either be Di Duccio and walk away.
    Or you can opt to be your own Michelangelo.

    It’s time to sculpt the beautiful future you’ve always wanted.
    The chisel is already in your hand.
    Get carving.

    Oh, and if you want to buy a candle, just contact me.
    $15/each (includes shipping.)
    All money goes to support a 10-year-old entrepreneur.

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      A Somewhat Relevant Quote

      Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.

      Michelangelo, the Steve Jobs of the 16th Century

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