When considering the most iconic paintings of human history, the image of Michelangelo’s near-touching hands belonging to Adam and God may beam into your mind. The painting, The Creation of Adam, sits as part of a composition that stretches over 500 square metres of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. Despite its highly recognisable nature, it was only in 1990, almost 500 years after Michelangelo created his work, that physician, Frank Meshberger, noticed something hidden in plain sight. For in the painting, behind the image of God, sits the shape and figures that together – have the same anatomic properties as the human brain.
The human mind is a complex yet prolific creation. But despite its power, we often fail to pick up on the clues it leaves us when choosing what to do with our lives – but understandably so.
As you enter the first steps of your life’s work, you will have many external influences bargaining power over your decisions. Your school will tell you that you didn’t get the right grades to continue to study a subject that was actually more suited to your interests, your parents will tell you to get a proper job, and you will start looking to shiny objects to value your own worth. But it is ultimately the mind of your own, that will hint at your greatest strengths, interests and desires. Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson begs that rather than constantly looking outward for answers, ‘a man should detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.’
The danger of not following, what many refer to as ‘your dream’, is hinted at by the very nature that you are ignoring the path that is best suited for you. The danger here, is that you are giving up your ability to be irreplaceable.
Make note, that if your life’s work is deeply connected to a combination of your life experiences, personal interests, as well as an intrinsic motivation to create something much larger than life: you will be an example others will look to as a milestone of creative potential, rather than a cog in the works that can be switched out by a newer and cheaper model. Building a career that does not innately ignite your engine, is similar to purposefully playing poker with a bad hand, despite the fact that you may temporarily hold a high amount of chips.
It is ultimately more beneficial for you to fill your life with a career that aligns with your greatest inner-self. West-Coast Rapper, Nipsey Hussle, speaks of a truth you must face when choosing your life’s vocation: ‘who would you want to define you, someone else or yourself?’
Understandably, at first, you may find comfort in having your career being dictated by outside influences. For those early in their life, especially those who have only just left school or university, you may have not yet spent much time alone with your own thoughts. Meaning your truths have always been dictated by external influences. Your work is graded by your lecturers and your education on life will come from those who are not deeply embedded in it. With this surrounding, following a path by listening to your own, true thoughts may seem less than enlightening. But for your life, it is of extreme paramount that you align your life’s work, with your deepest calling. The uncertainty that comes with this path is inevitable – but connecting what you do with the time that life provides you with to a deep-seeded passion will give you all the patience you need. In the film, The Last Samurai, the American military officer: Capt. Nathan Algren reveals great wisdom you will need for beginning your journey. When asked by Katsumoto, ‘Do you believe a man can change his destiny?’ Algren simply replies, ‘I think a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed.’ You must stand by your decision to follow your own instincts and allow time to provide you with answers you may not yet have.
In his famous painting, Michelangelo may have been hinting to us (amongst the many Christian story-focused paintings that display proudly in the Sistine Chapel) that Adam was not provided with the divine gift of thought from an almighty power, but rather from his own, human mind. Whether you believe the mind is the originator of your incredible uniqueness or whether it is simply the funnel for a higher being; it is undeniable what the mind is capable of gifting our lives. Refusing to listen to what the mind we each individually possess prefers would be a devastating misjudgement. Respect your ideas. Your experiences. Your inner self. And before you tell your life what to do with yourself, listen to your life and let it tell you who you are.