I’ve always been a fan of the multitude of skills that Leonardo da Vinci brought to the world. A painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect (thanks Wikipedia), his art – in whichever format it was created – is well-known across the planet, throughout history.
Stories shared through time explain his commitment to his work and how hard to continued to push towards greatness. Which is why I was quite perplexed when I saw this quote the other day, allegedly his last words:
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
Now, I’m not sure about you, but if I had achieved what he achieved over time, through multiple disciplines, I’d be giving myself a big fat pat on the back on my deathbed just looking back at what I had contributed to the world.
His comment has been widely discussed over time, so I’m not going to argue whether it was shared exactly as stated, but I’d imagine someone like Leonardo da Vinci probably did, in his own creative way, feel that his skills should have continued to grow and improve to make an even bigger mark on the world. You don’t get to a position like he did, creating masterpieces, without pushing yourself and expecting more from yourself to achieve perfection.
So it left me with one question: Am I pushing hard enough to achieve perfection? Am I giving my all, giving absolutely everything, in the pursuit for perfection? I mean, I have the words “Don’t hold back” tattoo’d on my arm, so clearly I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve greatness, to achieve perfection, right?
As much as I’d love to say “Yes, I’m killing myself day in and day out to be the best version of myself I can be”, and make Leo-D proud, I can’t. It’s not the case. What I am doing, though, is ensuring that finding the balance between focussing on growing and sharing my ‘skills’ (the work stuff) as much as I can, and ensuring a healthy life (the personal and family stuff), I am indeed driving towards being the best version of myself. Too often you hear of people who stretched too hard, too far, in their pursuit to build their business or profile and leaving the other elements of their lives in their wake. It’s a choice, I accept that, but I’m not on a journey to break the rest of my priorities to focus on one.
My journey is one of balance, of alignment, and staying true to myself.