I recently finished reading The Angel Inside – Michelangelo’s Secrets For Following Your Passion And Finding The Work You Love – by Chris Widener. I chose to read this book, following reading The Art of Influence by the same author – which I really enjoyed.
In The Angel Inside, Chris does it again: presenting powerful lessons in following one’s passion and finding the career and jobs that you love. The vehicle for these lessons is a trip that a young professional, Tom Cook, takes across Europe. While in Florence, he meets an old man who mentors him through Michelangelo’s life and work, specifically The David.
The lessons are summarized below:
a) Finding The Angel Inside You: “Every person has this tremendous capacity to be both king and warrior, a person of value and a person of accomplishment – of beauty and power”
b) The Power Of Following Your Passion: “There comes a time in every person’s life when they must decide whether they will follow what they want for thir life or what someone else wants for their life.”
c) Beauty Through Details: “The masters, the ones who succeed tremendously and set the standard for others, are those who master the details.”
d) Your Hand Creates What Your Mind Conceives: “Our worlds are created through the synchronization of the creative brilliance of the mind and the diligent steadiness and skill of the band.”
e) The Importance Of Planning And Preparation: “The lesson is not to move too fast. Fast enough to get where you want to be, but slow enough to do it right the first time.”
f) All Accomplishment Starts With One Swift Action: “Action is the beginning of accomplishment. Without it, you have only wasted dreams and good intentions.”
g) Embracing The Stages of Chipping, Sculpting, Sanding, And Polishing: “We must go through the same progression: Chip away what doesn’t belong, sculpt our lives and give them form through people we associate with and the information we take in, allow the rough spots of our lives to be sanded away through adversity and suffering, and then, only then, are we ready to be polished and let our power and beauty show in all their glory.”
h) Being Content: Sometimes Success Takes Years: “Sometimes success takes years. It takes methodical action over time.”
i) No One Starts With The Sistine Chapel: “Live your life and do your work in the embodiment of excellent, and opportunities will flow your way. People cannot, they will not, turn an eye away from excellence.”
A very powerful, educative and entertaining read that is highly recommended.
Below are three excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:
1- “I like to view books as a chance to converse with the author. I like to imagine that the author is speaking these ideas directly to me. I react and ask questions in my mind, as I read, and this allows me to ‘speak’ with the author. This way I am not bound by the limitations of time and space. I can be friends with the greatest minds that walk, and have walked, the earth. I can invite them into my life to challenge my thinking, shape my life, and help me become a better person, a more successful person.”
2- “Yet almost all people of significance and accomplishment have experienced tremendous adversity or suffering in their past. Those times of suffering are what give us substance, and our lives meaning. Those trials are what keep us humble and appreciative when we finally succeed. They keep us from seeking simple answers about life, because there are none. As one ancient writer told us, ‘Trials produce perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. ‘ Wisdom indeed. Yet most people run from adversity, and as a result they never learn to persevere. Instead they learn to quit or hide.”
3- “Yes, there are exceptions, but for most, life unfolds – careers unfold – slowly and over time. Every stage is a proving ground. Only after we have mastered each stage are we given the opportunity to move forward. It takes time at each stage to build a foundation for future success, to learn the lessons that we must learn and to develop the skills that we will need for the future. All the while, however, we are passionately pursuing what we love and preparing ourselves for greatness in the years to come.”