It’s a sad fact of life that whenever someone accomplishes something truly great there always seem to be others who want to take it away from them.
The reasons why are many and varied. Envy. Bitterness. Resentment. Rivalry. Greed. Opportunism.
A whole suite of negative human emotions.
I’ve always admired and respected entrepreneurs, business leaders and elite performers in every kind of endeavor because I appreciate the grit and determination and sheer hard work that it takes to get to the top in any profession.
So it’s particularly troubling when you discover that deep in the hearts of others there can be a festering negativity. Worse still, sometimes the forces of darkness achieve short-term victories. That’s life. That’s part of the journey.
People can take down your finest accomplishment or take it away from you. They can seize something tangible and wonderful that you have created, something that exists in one form or another, whether it’s a product, a service or a company. But they can never take away the passion and drive that lives inside of you.
That’s why I say: ”You can steal someone’s Mona Lisa but you can’t take away their imagination.”
In other words, you can take away one masterpiece but that doesn’t stop the super-active mind that created it from continuing to think and develop new and even greater innovations. You can’t take away their ability to start all over and again and be more successful than ever. That power is forever installed within, but you have to let that imagination release itself again.
Leonardo da Vinci himself painted the Mona Lisa over the course of a few years in the early 1500’s when he was in his early fifties. With her enigmatic smile the Mona Lisa is obviously one of the most famous paintings in the world attracting more than six million visitors a year to the Louvre in Paris. It is one of Leonardo’s greatest creations—but certainly not his last.
He moved on from painting masterpieces to spend more time using his magnificent artistic abilities conjuring up provocative and groundbreaking concepts in the scientific arena.
Like today’s high-tech entrepreneurs he was seldom satisfied with his work, and was always restlessly pursuing new objectives and challenging the status quo. He was a visionary, as are true entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs make adjustments and have the courage to open up new avenues of discovery and enlightenment. They break new ground. Just like da Vinci did. And, the most successful ones do it over and over again; for the thrill, the ability to create something out of nothing, and for that ultimate prize, the masterpiece.
Not for money. Those who focus on monetary gain, only have short-lived success.
Money is finite. Imagination is infinite.
As da Vinci wrote, “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Accomplished people are not passive. They are proactive. They “happen to things.” In today’s terminology, they make things happen. Entrepreneurs make things happen. Then they make things happen again. And again. They never quit. They never give up. They are always one step ahead no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path. Their powers of imagination continue. For them not a singular project or Company is a masterpiece, it’s the journey of life itself.