The Tibetan Buddhists, who have seen as much deliberate destruction of their lives and their culture than almost any people on the planet, are committed to a 500-year plan to create a better world. While most of us believe that it won’t take 500 years, sometimes it is worth thinking about what you as an individual can achieve over the course of a lifetime. The Renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti is famous for completing two sets of bronze doors in his life. The ﬁrst set took him 21 years to complete. The second set took him 27 years to complete. Each door is covered with amazingly beautiful and detailed sculpture, doors that will be famous for as long as they exist. In our world in which life moves so quickly it is worth reﬂecting on the kind of commitment to excellence that could motivate someone to spend the ﬁrst half his life perfecting a set of bronze doors (he started on them when he was 21), and then, when ﬁnished, to spend the second half of his life on a second set.
What if you committed yourself to making a powerful difference in the world over the course of your lifetime? Realize that making a difference is not about a feeling that you have now, but a focus on doing good and a commitment to personal excellence that you make for the long haul. You may not know exactly what your contribution is and you may have a number of different ones. As long as you develop your abilities and apply them on behalf of doing serious work for good, you will create your own bronze doors. The historical record shows that the world has become more peaceful, more prosperous, more environmentally healthy, and more comfortable than it was in the past. What can you do to create a better world over the course of your lifetime? What will your “bronze doors” be?
Michael Strong, Co-Founder of Bronze Doors Academy, in Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems