The Mona Lisa, painted by one of the most brilliant Italian artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci, is acclaimed to be “his best known, most visited, most written about, most sung about, and the most parodied work of art in the world.”
Historians claim Leonardo began painting his masterpiece in 1503, working on it for approximately four years and keeping it to himself for some years after wherever he went. Supposedly this was because the Mona Lisa was Leonardo’s favorite painting and he was loath to part with it, however it was also because this being his “prize masterpiece”, in his mind the painting always remained unfinished.
The Mona Lisa sits now inside the Louvre museum in Paris, where about 6 million people view the painting each year.
The ideals of perfection and separation are key here when you try to understand the brilliant minds like Da Vinci. Why did he believe his masterpiece was never finished? This also speaks to the meaning of what a masterpiece actually is.
What anything you do in life is about? What innovation is about? It’s about realizing that nothing in life is perfect, we can continue to strive for it, and iterate on it daily. But, at the end, we are left with what we give to this world.
This speaks to the ideals of what entrepreneurialism and success are about. If you look at Companies, like Kodak, Blockbuster, Blackberry, Myspace, etc. – they all share parallels of the exact opposite thinking of what Da Vinci would have done. If you’ve achieved success, it’s temporary. You have to continue to innovate and continue to create something magical because nothing is perfect in life. Everything is just temporary. Pain is also temporary. Sacrifice is also temporary. But, success can be linear if you can think like Da Vinci and continue to innovate and realize that your masterpiece needs to always evolve in order for it to be a legacy. Never be satisfied by the status quo, create the status quo.
As another brilliant mind said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Stagnation can kill your masterpiece. But, then it no longer becomes one. If you want to be revered for your work, for your masterpiece; if you have something to give to this world, something to build, something you want to share, then go out and #CreateYourMonaLisa.
Because, that’s when you’ll realize – what being limitless is about.