Earlier this year, I was pretty excited about some drastic changes we had made in our lifestyle. Whenever I’m excited about something, I must tell someone and my friend at a dinner party at my house was no exception. I excitedly pointed out all the ways that simplicity has led us to a life of greater contentment and tranquility.
I could sense my friend becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
“Well, not everyone can live that way.”
My friend assumed that I view life as a science; that there are certain rules that must be followed and a right and wrong way to do things.
I completely disagree with that notion. To me life is more like a work of art. You have a canvas on which to paint decisions, consequences, and ultimately meaning. Every life is as different as every work of art.
When a painter presents her painting, she is expressing herself in a unique way that is unlike anyone else. The painter has her way of painting. To her, it feels like the right way, because, of course, she did it that way. Another painter may do it totally differently. A wonderful and mysterious thing happens in the gallery: each painter admires the brilliance and beauty in the other’s work of art.
So I am creating a work of art that I hope to be beautiful and meaningful.
I’m not creating a life of the entrepreneur who spends her nights and weekends creating a groundbreaking service that improves the lives of millions of people. But I can appreciate her work of art.
I’m not creating a life of the philanthropist who travels the world to find a way to cure malaria worldwide. But I can appreciate his work of art.
I’m not creating a life of the video game developer who works for two solid years to create a game that captures the imagination of a teenager who stays out of trouble because he has something to do when he’s out of school. But I can appreciate his work of art.
I’m not creating a life of a hospice nurse who works the night shift helping dying patients find dignity and meaning in their final days. But I can appreciate her work of art.
I’m creating a life of tranquility, meaning, and purpose. I do this through simplifying life in every facet, achieving in the marketplace through a fearless pursuit of adding value, and creating margin in my life to build a legacy with those around me, especially my family.
This is my work of art. This is the journey I will share with you.
It isn’t the only way.
But I want it to be beautiful, and I want to share it with you because I hope we can inspire each other to make our lives a beautiful work of art.