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“I strain more than any man who ever lived…and with great exhaustion, and yet I have the patience to arrive at the desired goal.”


We are living in an age where many think that they can mouse click and download whatever they want without going through the process; instant fame, instant riches, instant promotions, instant marriage, and yet want to enjoy longevity in what they’ve acquired.

We are living in an age where many do not want to take responsibility for anything but yet want to enjoy the benefit of everything.

We are living in an age where many do not want to do the right thing because it’s hard but is quick to do the wrong thing because it is easy and yet want to enjoy a lifetime of consistent success.

We are living in an age where many think they can outsmart the fundamentals and the process and yet be smart enough to keep on progressing – how ridiculous!

We are living in an age where we have more in quantity but our lives lack quality or substance.

We are living in an age of trends but yet inner satisfaction is drained.


We are living in an age of illusions and delusions that make life shallow.


We are living in an age where many desperately want their circumstances to improve but yet lack the sincerity and discipline to improve themselves – what an illusion!

When the low life reigns the higher life becomes extinct. We must transition from this superficial age to become the real deal – the real deal of true success and greatness.

The higher life births a significant life. And the higher life is only possible when we tread through the higher way – that’s the mark of a superior soul; a Masterpiece.

Michelangelo Buonarroti the sculptor extraordinaire modeled excellence at its peak through painstaking thoroughness, and perseverance that severed him from the status quo.

 Beyond the gift or talent, he showed the world that it is the quality of the man (which must be developed) that gives credence to his gift and determines the value he creates and the sustainability of the value.

Let Michelangelo Buonarnati’s life’s work speak to your heart and let it spark an intense desire within you as we unfold the secrets of extraordinary accomplishment.


Pope Julius II considered the decoration of the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican too dull thus, he assigned Michelangelo the task of redoing the chapel’s ceiling.

Michelangelo quickly opposed that he was a sculptor and not a painter. In actuality, Michelangelo preferred sculpting and he well knew that painting a vaulted ceiling sixty feet in the air was a process that should take years and would require the development of a new painting technique. However, Pope Julius II prevailed and Michelangelo settled to begin the arduous project that was to become his most famous work.


Responsibility is the meal of champions. When you take up responsibility you eat up the diet that grows and stretches your capacity. Easy responsibility is for babies or children just like babies feed on milk as their meal.

 However, as one grows into adulthood, the individual will be able to chew hard meat. So it applies. The harder the responsibility you take up, the greater will be the level of your accomplishments. The responsibility that stretches your potential is the responsibility that moves you onward and upward.

An attempt to evade responsibility is to exempt yourself from the success parade. Your willingness to assume great responsibility and utilize the mind power is your willingness to climb the ladder of accomplishment one step at a time to the top and there are always unlimited heights available for anyone who is willing and ready to ascend and keep on ascending to greater levels.

This is the key distinction that separates achievers from average people – the willingness to take responsibility. The quality and quantity of service rendered coupled with the mental attitude which the individual renders it will determine the level and quality of value created which in turn determines the level of accomplishment of the individual.

Extraordinary accomplishment is achieved by those who set no limit on what they can do – they think beyond limits and they accomplish without limits. The limit in your mind is the only real limit on your path. Desire is the momentum of extraordinary accomplishment. The level of your desire will determine your level of accomplishment.


At the outset, Michelangelo hired other well-known fresco painters to assist him but after seeing their first efforts, he dismissed them, pulled down their work, and closed himself in the chapel to do the work alone.


To be well-known does not connote being well-grounded and rooted in excellence. A man of vision is more powerful than a man with mere skill. Vision drives performance. Vision defines performance.

Never settle for less than the best quality performance you are capable of as you keep increasing your capacity.

Raise your stakes if you must stake the claim of extraordinary accomplishments.

To be well-known does not connote being well-grounded and rooted in excellence. A man of vision is more powerful than a man with mere skill. Vision drives performance. Vision defines the quality of performance and the quality of the vision refines the quality of performance.

Never settle for less than the best quality performance possible. Raise the stake if you must stake the claim of extraordinary accomplishments. Never compromise on excellence to deliver the promise.


Michelangelo passed through grueling and miserable experiences as he persisted in getting the work done with excellence.

Pope Julius nagged him and forgot to pay him. The work took a toll on his health as he battled poor health as well as mold and dampness in the chapel. His clothes were rotting on his body. Michelangelo later revealed that he often felt as if he was wasting his time without any result.


Let the Chinese Bamboo plant teach us a lesson in Perseverance and the Process.


The Chinese Bamboo plant starts from a tiny seed. You plant the seed in the dirt, and you water the seed. Very little seems to happen in the first year. Despite your efforts, only a tiny shoot pokes out of the ground.

So…the second year you water and fertilize and protect the seed…nothing happens.

So…the third year you water and fertilize and protect the seed…nothing happens.

So…the fourth year you water and fertilize and protect the seed…nothing happens.

So…the fifth year you water and fertilize and protect the seed…finally, during the fifth year, the Chinese Bamboo plant begins to grow. In fact, it grows 90 feet tall in just six weeks!

The question is, did it grow 90 feet in six weeks or in five years? The answer, of course, is that it grew 90 feet in five years. It took five years to grow the root system that would one day support a 90-foot plant.

People are often like the Chinese Bamboo plant.

We invest hours and hours trying to develop ourselves or others, and nothing happens.

We spend years disciplining our children to follow the Lord, but…nothing happens. We hold countless meetings with our staff members to coach them in the development of their strengths and developmental areas, but…nothing happens.

We redouble our efforts to help a friend make better decisions, but…nothing happens. If you’re like most people, you will be tempted to give up. Don’t do it! If you give up, the seeds you planted will die. But if you continue to care for the seeds, one day (when you least expect it) the result of your labor will seem to magically appear overnight!

If the Chinese Bamboo plant immediately shot up 90 feet in the first year, one strong wind would blow it down. By growing deep before it grows tall, it gains the strength it needs to withstand the force of heavy winds. Similarly, lasting growth starts on the inside of people.

It’s difficult to see that change is taking place, but this is a necessary process. The growth they do on the inside creates strength of character and conviction.           

Don’t give up hope! Your efforts will be rewarded! Once the root system is established, your growth or the growth of those you are coaching will spring up seemingly overnight!


The extraordinary accomplishments or results will determine the level and quality of value created which in turn determines the level of accomplishment. Extraordinary accomplishment is achieved by those who set no limit on what they can do – they think above limits and they accomplish without limits.

The limits in your mind are the real hindrance to your path. Desire is the momentum of extraordinary accomplishment. The level and intensity of your desire will determine your level of accomplishment.


Michelangelo often repainted figures that he had thought were complete. A friend observing him asked why he took such pains with figures that would be seen only at a distance, “Who will know whether it is perfect or not?” Michelangelo replied, “I will’.


Perfection is attainable. Perfection is progressive. Perfection is in stages. The belief that perfection is not obtainable is one of the greatest undoings of the human race that has caused laxity in both character and performance thus jeopardizing great destinies.

Aim for perfection with patience in all that you do – Let perfection become your ideal and you won’t suffer the ordeal of settling for less.


When the chapel fresco was completed it covered 5, 800 square feet and had more than 300 figures. The themes of the work garnered praise from theologians. Art critics appraised and praised the beauty of his work and commented on the intimacy of the figures.

Countless millions of visitors through the centuries have stood in awe of what he portrayed.


Once upon a time, there lived the Medicis who were the wealthiest and most powerful family in Italy at the time. The Medicis commissioned Michelangelo to create a statue for the main square in Florence and immediately Michelangelo set his mind to accomplishing his assignment.


After two years of intense search, Michelangelo discovered a huge slab of marble on a side street of Florence covered with dirt and overgrown with weeds. Amazingly, he had treaded this street several times and had never discovered the marble, but on that particular day, he looked more closely and beyond the apparent, to potential embedded in it.


This also could be evident in human lives, many people have become so familiar with their lives that they “walkpastss themselves never discovering the limitless wealth or potential that lies dormant within.

Moreover, to fuel this ignorance those closest to us have become so accustomed to us that they do not see the greatness in us. Burdened with this ignorance we look outside ourselves for the success we seek; we fail to understand that all we ever need to become successful lies inside of us.


Michelangelo began to envision the statue of David in its entirety in the block of marble. The sculptor uncovered the dirt from the marble and hauled it to his studio; he began to work on the marble. He engaged in the arduous task of hammering and chiseling and it took two years of work to create the rough outline of the statue.

He spent another two years polishing and sanding before the statue was completed. Finally, the work was done and the once-ordinary marble became a marvel to behold.


Thousands of people from all over Italy gathered in the main square to behold this masterpiece. When it was unveiled, people cheered. Women fainted. The sight was awesome and people were gripped in wonder at the breathtaking masterpiece.

Immediately, Michelangelo was recognized as the greatest sculptor of his age.


 Michelangelo was asked how he was able to create such a masterpiece, and he replied by saying that he saw David complete and perfect in the marble. All he had to do was to remove everything that was not David.

 After several hundreds of years, the statue of David is perceived as the most beautiful piece by sculptors in the world.


We are the sculptors of our destinies and the masters of our fate. We are the script-writers; directors; producers; actors or actresses of our life movies on the stage of life. However, in our life movie, there are no dress rehearsals.

The big question is: Are we going to sculpt our lives into a masterpiece that will outlive us? Are we going to make our life movie to be impressed with the legacy of history? Or are we going to allow the vagaries of circumstances, past conditioning, and our environment to shape our lives by default into a pitiable state bombarded by failure?

Just like the marble was buried in dirt and overgrown with weeds, our potential is buried beneath weaknesses, faults, and failures. All we need to do is to look beyond the apparent into the kind of person we can become.

An in-depth look at ourselves will reveal to us untapped treasures and infinite wealth yet to be explored, but it takes a diligent search to discover it. As Michelangelo saw the statue of David in its entirety, we should have a mental picture of the kind of person we want to be; what we want to do with our lives, and what we want to have in the course of destiny.

The shortest route to failure is having no ideals, values, or vision to live by. When our behavior is guided and shaped by the “anything goes” mentality, we will end up in the “nowhere” reality. Remember, when we are indifferent toward life; our lives will never make a difference.

The trademark of greatness is being clear about your values, vision, and ideals and daily evolving into the high standard you have set for yourself. We must allow this ideal to grow within us and we must work on making it a reality, removing everything that is not in harmony with our mental picture.

Keep working on yourself; never give up on your ideal.


Michelangelo’s works are named among the most famous in the world. The Pieta in St. Peter’s, David, Moses and Dying Slave and Rebellious Slave.

As part of his will, Michelangelo included these words, “I die in the faith of Jesus Christ and in the firm hope of a better life”



Timeless Gem

. . .

About the Author


Udeme Archibong is a prolific writer, an astute communicator and a model of excellence. Her writings have made profound impact on thousands of lives around the world through her blog:, which has followings in over 70 countries in continents of the world.

She is a Self-Development Expert, who passionately works towards helping people maximize their destinies.

At some point, she was a motivational columnist, writing Success Recipe and Destiny Catalyst, for two Nigerian national newspapers, Vanguard and ThisDay, respectively. She is the initiator of the Revolution Series Seminars

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