Chip away

Michelangelo is quoted for saying, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Despite the logic behind the artist’s words, most people notoriously focus on the finished product, and not the process.

When we concentrate on the completed project, though, we inevitably invite a host of mental barriers into our work — doubt, uncertainty, fear, criticism. And when these negative thoughts surface, we repeatedly notice reasons why our work will never amount to the perfect vision we once imagined.

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” — Michelangelo

Regardless of the artist’s medium or level of mastery, though, it is essential that she focus on progress, and not perfection. Consistent progress will create momentum, allowing the artist to stay focused on her vision and invest the time needed to see it come to life.

In fact, research in psychology supports the notion of small signs of progress to create habitual change. For example, according to Stanford psychology professor, B.J. Fogg, these “tiny habits” are the key to implementing behavioral change.

Each day brings an opportunity to chip away at that block of stone. Each day is a chance to shape our work, and bring it closer to our vision. Therefore, we should celebrate our progress because each sign of progress will elevate our confidence. And that confidence will give us the perseverance to create, even when inner critics and other obstacles stand in our way of the finished product. Through our relentless focus on progress, we will approach any endeavor, regardless of how big or daunting it may seem, with steadfast commitment and resilience.