Last night, Bel and I watched “Life of Pi”. Fabulous film. Challenging, tense, exciting, and visually breath-taking.
The main character – Pi – spends much of his life exploring the nature of God. One scene, in particular, really stuck with me. In this scene, he says this about faith and doubt:
“Doubt is useful. It keeps faith a living thing.”
It resonated with me, and got me thinking about how little in our life can ever truly be thought of as “finished”.
Faith is an ongoing conversation, but then so is business, art, fitness, health, balance, parenthood, and pretty much any other aspect of life you care to mention.
Leonardo da Vinci, good friend of mine, and creator of (arguably) the most famous painting in the world, had the same idea. (Thanks Leo, I appreciate your quote for today’s IQ.)
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
I went through school quite easily, being naturally talented at academia, and getting excellent marks with a lot less effort than many of my peers. I have a pretty good memory, and after reading something once or twice, I can usually remember it – a handy skill to have at exam time.
School teaches us that there is a right answer to everything, and that once we find it, the work is finished. In my experience, however, this is absolutely untrue.
School didn’t prepare me for real life very well. I kept looking for the right answer all the time, hoping to be “finished” with business, marketing, health… and when I didn’t find the answer, I felt a failure.
I occasionally still find myself looking for that “silver bullet” solution that, once found, will make everything “finished”, perfect, forever.
Here’s the thing: the silver bullet doesn’t exist. It never has existed.
Life, business, health, they all evolve daily, and constantly change. What worked yesterday, doesn’t work today. New ideas are needed all the time, as well as fearlessness and a willingness to experiment.
The truth is, there are no “right answers” in life. There are only experiences, what we learn from them, and what we can contribute to the world in return.
What we need, more than “right answers”, is a creative mindset.
One that approaches each new experience as an art project, a chance to create, and an opportunity to express what’s in the depths of our own heart.
It’s taken me 35 years to realise that our lives are actually a work of art.
Our lives are our greatest masterpiece, and we add a little more detail to them every single day.
Pi realised that faith, like life is an ongoing conversation. It is never finished, always changing, and always giving us a new opportunity to learn and grow.
I have un-learned much of my schooling, so my original quest for being finished has now been replaced with a quest to constantly create a body of work I am proud of.
Leonardo da Vinci knew this, and created an extraordinary body of work that is still discussed, debated and appreciated, almost 500 years after his death.
Our life’s work is never over, until we are.
Our art is never finished, only abandoned, when we die.