Carving Character With a Chisel

Carving Character With a Chisel

“Things happen to help you get rid of yourself that aren’t you, to help you discover who you really are.” ~Mira Kirshenbaum

In response to a question as to how he was able to carve the statues he did, the artist Michelangelo is reputed to have replied, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I begin my work. It is already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

I think that perhaps that is true of all of us, that who we are is already there; the work of maturation is the chiseling away of that which is superfluous.

By giving up that which is not in our best interests long-term, we learn, eventually, to take on those things which serve us.

By relinquishing the parts of ourselves we’ll never be, we learn, eventually, to understand and embrace who we’ve always been.

And accepting that self provides a foundation upon which can be built an understanding and acceptance of others.


To understand ourselves is to accept the fact that what we—and others—think, feel, and do are all expressions of the self at the time they occur.

Regretting the way in which we once expressed ourselves is foolish: it was what it was; now we know better.

Such is the progression of growth. Such is the ladder of life. And it has no top.

Or, to return to the sculpting metaphor, when shit happens, think of it as a divine sculptor.

It’s not happening to you—it’s happening for you.

It’s impossible to carve a masterpiece without a chisel in hand.

“Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do; you’re deciding your life right now.” ~Meg Jay

Stay connected with our Monday Morning Message

Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

When your people have the skills to communicate more effectively, they can connect more easily and collaborate more productively. Not only on the job, but also in life.

Communication, Connection, and Collaboration—the three “C’s”—are the cornerstones of all successful businesses. They are the result of Emotional Intelligence in action.

More details can be found in my recent best seller with co-author Jennifer Eggers:
Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back

The power of resilience within organizations can transform an average company into a powerhouse. Yet, even in times of rapid disruptive change, there is no manual for building resilient organizations. This book is that manual.

“If you  want to build more resilience intentionally—personally and professionally—read this book.
Fran Karamousis, Chief  of Research, Gartner


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