There were once two ceiling painters who were hired for separate jobs.
The first painter went in, put some drop sheets down and got straight to work slapping white paint on the ceiling.
He was finished within a day.
The second painter entered and looked at the ceiling that he was to work on.
He went home and dreamed of something magnificent that he could do.
He called in scaffolders and went to work, taking four years of painstaking work to complete his masterpiece.
The first painter went to his next job and finished that one within a day as well. He ended up completing five ceilings that week.
But no-one remembered his work or his name and most of it was painted over again in a few years time.
He was just another painter doing what every other painter could do, with no ambition, no vision and no expertise.
The second painter went on to do other brilliant work and everyone recognises the name Michelangelo, even centuries after his death.
He is universally admired for his impassioned style, known as terribilità, which created a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur and inspired generations of other artists.
Whatever we do with our lives, we have a choice.
We can be like the first painter, going through the motions and doing ordinary, forgettable work that others can easily replicate.
Or we can be like the second painter, creating masterpieces that require commitment and passion.
And if you’re hiring someone to do a job, you can get the guy who paints a white ceiling within a day or hire the artist who takes his time to create a true piece of art.
I know that most organisations go for the short-term, cheaper option, but perhaps it’s time to aim higher and to choose magnificence over convenience.
And no, you can’t have both. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t painted in a day and you can’t compress greatness into an efficiency target.
You have a choice to make, now get painting.
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