Sculpting Your Best Self: How Self-Improvement is Best Done Through Sculpting Others

You are a block of stone.

Chipped and cracked and carved by life.

Molded since birth, you now embody a unique shape, reflecting all that you’ve become.

Your parents were the first to sculpt you using the only tools they knew how. Tools given to them by generations of parents before them, they whittled you into the shape they wanted, or needed, or were proud of. A sculpture of sorts.

Their tools may have been blunt, leaving gashes still visible in your adult life. Their techniques may have been lackluster, leaving scars that will never heal. But they did their best, whatever that was, and you left home quite unlike how you arrived.

None of us left unscathed.

Even with a parent’s perfect love, we left the nest and entered the world an imperfect version of ourselves to be further sculpted by relationships and experiences, trials and tragedies.

And those trials were tough.

Maybe you were fired from a good job, a dismissal leaving your surface unfinished, rough, and displeasing to future employers. 

Maybe a spouse cheated on you, or you them, crumbling away pieces of yourself never to be replaced or, if somehow glued back together, forever fragile.

Or maybe your life seems just peachy, but deep inside you’ve lost your sense of direction, your purpose, your guiding light, leaving nothing but a thin stone shell, constantly in danger of breaking open to bare your secret truth to others.

Every trial molds you for better or worse.

It’s the molding for the better that you seek.

You Are Not Alone

Everyone wants to improve their situation, their lot in life. 

We can do so in infinite ways. 

Marriage can be a source of positive transformation. Work can lift us up. Friends and books can inspire us, driving us to hammer out a wholly new version of ourselves that’s unrecognizably better, smoother, more refined. 

The company you keep, the media you read, the food you eat, and the thoughts you think are all shaping you, intentionally or not, into the sculpture you’ll become.

But you are not alone. 

You are not the only block of stone in this world. You are not the only one looking to live a better life. Everyone around you has their own lessons to learn, their own sculpture to form. And, just as you’ve been carved out by your experiences, interactions, trials, and tragedies, so too can you help carve someone else into a better version of him or herself.

Can and should.

You Are a Sculptor

You are a block of stone, but you are also an artist etching change into each life you touch. 

Every interaction with another is chipping away at their block, ever so slightly tweaking their form.

Perhaps you don’t mean to. Maybe you don’t realize that you affect other people in unknown ways.

But you do. 

The words you use and the way you treat people forever alters their life—sometimes in big ways, most times in small, unknown ways. But it’s not the size of the change that matters. It’s whether the alterations you make help them become the sculpture they have hidden inside—their true self. 

As I write this article, I hope that, by reading it, you’ll leave a slightly better version of the person that arrived. I wish for this article to change your thinking in some small way that will have a positive effect on your life and those around you. And this better version of yourself (I hope) comes from the realization that, while it’s true you are being sculpted by life, you are a sculptor yourself. 

With every conversation, you can shape others into the beautiful form they were meant to be, or something else. With every life you touch, you transform others into that which they are intended to become, or not.

It’s a huge responsibility, and one that’s hard to get right.

But if you own that responsibility and act on it, you’ll have given everyone you encounter the chance to become the sculpture they’re meant to be.

Sharpen Your Tools

Sculpting others requires two things:

Sculpting requires vigilance in that you must continuously be aware of how you are affecting others. Just as it would be damaging to swing a ball-and-chain without regard around Michelangelo’s David, so too would it be to cram your views down another’s throat thoughtlessly.

Sculpting requires sharp tools in that your manners, respect, honor, virtue, attitude, mindset, and character must be in top form; the sharper the better. Just as it would be harmful to shape Mount Rushmore with a rusty spoon, so too would it be to disrespect another, belittle them, or assassinate their character.

These parts of yourself, the unquantifiable pieces that make you you, are the tools you can use to lift others up or cut them down. 

If your tools are blunt, you risk leaving a trail of rubble behind you. But if your tools are sharp, you can use them to great advantage, bringing out the best in others, inspiring them, and leaving a memorable and positive impression in their lives that they will ultimately pay forward. 

Use Your Tools Often

Keeping your tools sharp means honing them with constant practice. Every encounter is an opportunity to refine their edge.

Hold the door for someone. Say “thank you” if they do for you. Write a note to a sibling, to your parents. Say a prayer for a relative. Cook dinner for a neighbor. Buy a homeless person coffee. Wish good fortune upon a friend. Do the same for your worst enemy.

These small gestures will leave positive impressions, immediately shaving away a piece of stone that didn’t flatter their character. 

And, in a beautiful and circular way, you’ll be unintentionally carving out a better version of yourself. You’ll become known for your attitude. You’ll become respected and trusted and sought after for your positivity. You’ll be loved.

The Sculpture Carves the Sculptor

You are a block of stone.

Chipped and cracked and carved by life.

Molded since birth, you now embody a unique shape, reflecting all that you’ve become.

But not all that you can be. 

Having long since left your parents dwelling, no longer shaped by their guidance, you now have the opportunity to carve a beautiful sculpture, a new you. And, as it turns out, the best way to shape your best self is to help others bring out the best in them.

Do this with your honor, your mindset, your integrity. Brighten others spirits with your words, your actions, and your kindness. Forever change another for the better with your actions, your guidance, and your love.

You are a sculptor of lives, yourself and those around you.

So go sculpt something beautiful.

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
— Michelangelo

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg


I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

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