Michelangelo said his talent was in revealing. He would see a block of stone, determine what it was, and chip away to reveal it.
You are a block of stone. In life, you chip away to sculpt your true, idealized self. This self as an end isn’t achievable, and it shouldn’t be since nothing is perfect. But as life progresses, you chip away towards this vision. You can’t help but do it. You feel compelled to.
As you’re chipping away though, every time you aren’t your true self, every time you aren’t in control of your outlook, every time you aren’t in control of your mind, the original block of stone re-emerges despite all of your efforts at chipping away. While this may be unfavorable, every time it does happen (provided that you recognize it) the process of chipping away becomes easier, as you now know the path to achieve what you once had before the original block emerged.
As opposed to abandonment or forgetfulness however, what if instead at some point along the way in your chipping you made a mistake? This could be for many reasons… you exhausted yourself chipping to hard to no avail, you chipped in such a way as to threaten your overall sculpture’s stability, etc. Again, every time this happens, the original block of stone re-emerges. But, while this also may be unfavorable, every time it does happen (provided that you recognize it) the process of chipping away becomes easier, as you now know which paths to avoid.
What’s more is that these mistakes may just be a blessing, as you now realize that your previous chipping methods were subpar. You’ve started anew, and have just now tried new methods… they are superior. Even more than that, you now realize that perhaps your previous vision was subpar. You’ve started anew, and have just now visualized your ideal sculpture with even finer dimensions, sharper contours, more complex and previously unfathomable geometries…
“The sun is new
again, all day.”
-Heraclitus, Fragment 32
where you set
your foot just now
is gone –
giving way to this,
-Heraclitus, Fragment 41
All in all, you have a natural urge to grow, to become a better person. But you need to practice and put in effort to become a better person, the person you want to become. Sometimes you know who this person might be, but more often than not, this person grows in your mind over time with your unique experiences. This doesn’t happen overnight though… and because it doesn’t happen overnight, you will most likely fail… but every time you do fail, the process becomes easier and less hazy (provided that you get back up to try again), and you get closer to becoming who you want to become.