This is an excerpt from The Simple Leader: Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen
Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.
– Maya Angelou
Life is a canvas, shaped by what is in your soul, the environment you are in, your decisions, and your interactions with others. Your life is an individual, unique work of art. How can you change what’s on that canvas, the art of you? Here are some suggestions:
- Be present. Truly use all of your five senses. In fact, when sitting, purposely go through all your five senses and experience what they are telling you.
- Explore. Add new experiences and knowledge to the canvas.
- Synthesize. Just as an artist mixes paints and even media, think about how the various aspects of your life are mixing together.
When I first started painting my canvas, I thought I would be a fireman or superhero, but over time this changed to physicist, then chemical engineer. I went from manufacturing to executive management to being the cofounder of an e-learning startup. I started out fairly conservative, then as I witnessed and reflected on the experiences of myself and others, I evolved into a far more complex sociopolitical individual. As I began to learn and explore, I experimented with and adopted intellectual and spiritual frame- works that made sense and were relevant to my situation. My time growing up in South America eventually led me to visit and experience more than sixty countries, and after more than fifty years, these experiences have given my canvas many complex layers.
What will you add to your canvas today? This year? What will your life’s canvas eventually look like? Become aware, reflect on your personal and professional leadership life, and improve every day. Add depth, color, and texture to your painting. Make it a work of art you can be proud of.