Today I saw self-improvement, that attitude to life that not only lashes out against external difficulties, but strives to give the best of itself and to enhance it. I saw it in the now elderly face of my father, who, like so many of his generation, had to become self-made, I saw it in the slow but inexorable progress of so many human beings who transcended the dark possibilities that fate had initially bestowed on them but which they turned into opportunities thanks to their tenacity and determination to overcome.
Like everyone else, I always wondered if I had the capacity to face the challenges and situations that life put in front of me, or those that I threw myself into as a result of my own aspirations, and if I would be able to face them and get ahead.
It is obvious that we are not all good for the same things and we are not all born with the same potential qualities, but I don’t think that taking for granted that we lack certain virtues or skills is very constructive, especially if we already set limits in our minds saying “I don’t know” or “I can’t”.
I am sure, very sure, that we all have a lot of qualities waiting to be developed, and the first driver for this must be our own determination and faith in ourselves.
Perhaps life is waiting for us to wield the tools to bring that potential out of ourselves. That “making ourselves” is part of the wonderful adventure of living, making ourselves with or without the help of others and circumstances, but becoming a true maker of our own work, of our life, the fruit of the effort we put into developing the true art of living.
All this and much more suggested to me the sculpture “The self-made man“, where the human figure emerges from the half-carved block of stone while the same figure holds the hammer and chisel, modelling himself until he frees himself from the crude formless matter.
Miguel Angel Padilla