Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1452 to 1519. It is believed he died of a stroke at the age of 67. During his life he was the preeminent inventor, painter, entrepreneur, scientist, philosopher, and artist in the world. His works are world famous and fetch millions upon millions of dollars when sold.
His most famous piece of artwork is arguably the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris, France and has since 1797.
Begun around 1503, Leonardo carried this painting with him until his death in 1519. It was the one painting that many believe Leonardo never actually finished. Some believe that Leonardo’s right hand had become paralyzed and therefore he couldn’t finish it. (Although Leonardo was left-handed, he actually painted with his right hand.)
Others believe that he simply never got around to it. Still others (myself included), believe that Leonardo never intended to finish it. He loved Mona Lisa so much that he carried her around with him as he moved from location to location, touching it up here and there, until around 1517 (the assumed date of his paralysis). Even then he kept her with him.
Why would Leonardo do this? Why not “finish” her? Perhaps it’s because some things are never able to be finished. Perhaps some things, are perpetual works of art. Sometimes we fall so deeply in love with something we never wish it to end. Maybe this is how Leonardo felt about his beloved Mona Lisa.
I for one choose to believe he never finished Mona Lisa because he always felt she had more to offer the world.
In many ways, aren’t we all like the Mona Lisa? Aren’t we all painting a life that will never quite be complete?
You’re not done yet. Wherever you are in life, whatever your past has been up until now, no matter what choices you have made or mistakes you have committed (or even heights that you have reached), you are not done yet.
Just like Mona Lisa, you are a perpetual work of art, never finished, never completed, always with something more to offer the world.
This is a sobering proposition. It deserves our attention. It requires introspection.
Who are you capable of becoming? Have you ever really given that question serious thought? If not, how would your life begin to change were you to do so?
It takes courage to stare across the abyss of who we currently are to who we are capable of becoming. That gap can be large, deep, and fraught with danger. It’s not easy. It can be uncomfortable. It can be scary.
But it is crucial that you do so. Not just for yourself, but for the world. The world needs what you have to offer, whatever that may be that is good, and pure, and whole. It needs you and uniquely you. You cannot afford to stand on the sidelines for others to carry the load. You have a part in this. Do your part.
You’re not done yet.