It was Always There to Start with; Steve Sims

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Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Making Things Happen, the podcast, and this one’s a little bit different because I’m actually doing this one from Florence. I came over to Florence and I was over here for a short period and I said to my wife that she’s never actually seen David. Now, a lot of you will maybe recall from podcasts or from Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen, the book, my story about how I set up a table of six at the feet of Michelangelo’s David when I took over an entire museum just to myself, but this isn’t about that experience or anything really relating to it. I wanted her to see David.

I’ve been there many times; she never had, so I took her there and you can get VIP tickets, where you reserve tickets, so I got those tickets, we get in, and as you walk into the Accademia Dell’Galleria, there was a long, thick corridor and down the side of the corridor are large pieces of marble, which I’ll go into in a second. Right down at the end and this corridor channeling your focus to the end, in a dome, is David. Now you can’t miss it. The second you walk in the door, everything channels your focus there to this magnificent beauty, this empirotic kind of piece that just grabs your attention, and of course, you’re in awe of it, and what does it do? It draws you in and you get to see it.

But I remember way back when I actually had about four and a half hours in this museum on my own and was able to just walk and walk and walk, I noticed something that I had missed and I was watching to see if Clare actually missed it as well. And she did, and as I looked around, so many other people did. You see, as you walk through the door of the Accademia, those lumps of marble that I mentioned to you that are basically acting as gladiators down the side and channeling your focus to David, are pieces of his early testing work. There’ll be a piece of marble there and there’ll be an arm coming out of it, and there’ll be a leg, and there’d be a torso, and this is where he’s practicing. Now here’s the funny thing. A lot of us, we fail at something and then we go, “That’s it,” and then we move on to something else. That’s education.

You see, education comes after failing at stuff. Fail at it enough and that becomes experience. And you see, Michelangelo knew this. Now he built a magnificent piece and I remember hearing once, and I don’t know how accurate the saying is, but I remember hearing about when Michelangelo was interviewed about, “Hey, how did you possibly think of creating David out of this enormous piece of marble?” And his retort, apparently, was, “David was already there. I just had to uncover him.” Now I love that and that’s a very passionate, very beautiful thing to think, but when you actually walk into the museum, you lead yourself up to Michelangelo’s David and then you turn left and you exit. So many times we miss the beginning. Now we’ve all done magnificent things, but we’ve never done something magnificent the first time. We may think we have, but we haven’t. It’s all those little failures, all those little educations, all those little things that create experience, which enable us to end up going “Tada! Here’s our piece of marble.”

And so I was, I actually turned Clare around and we went back to look at, I don’t know, there’s about 12 pieces, six on either side, of these pieces that would have a head coming out of it and it literally looked like it was a merger. It looked as though it was waiting to be born. It was incredible, so I urge you a couple of things. One, if you end up in Firenze, if you end up in Florence, you have to go to Michelangelo’s David, but do not skip to see David. Look at the little pieces, the little chinks, the little cuts that got him to this magnificent, and think about what are the cuts and pieces of sculpting that you are doing to help build your magnificence, okay? Do not miss out on those. So for one, think about you, and for two, if you end up in Florence, don’t miss those. Don’t run up to David and see that. Look around at how it got there. When you see that, you actually get a greater appreciation of David itself.

So that’s it. It’s very short one. I’m on a little retreat at the moment in which I’ve planned some stuff, seeing some clients, but I wanted to share that with you because far too often, we think we’re going to build magnificence at the start when really, it’s all those little screw ups, mess ups, fuck ups, whatever you want to call them, that actually create the experience, the education, and let’s be honest, the credibility to be able to say you know what you’re doing. Anyway, that’s me, live from Florence, enjoying a quite rainy morning, actually, with my cappuccino, and I’ll catch up with you soon. All the best. Bye.

Well, I hope you enjoyed another episode of the Art of Making Things Happen with me, Steve Sims, and just imagine if you were in a room with these people, some of the listeners, some of the guests, some of my friends. Well, you can be, if you attend a speakeasy. Just head on over to and you’ll find out all about the details of our next event, location, city that we’re in and quite simply, they’re there to make you smarter and more impactful. If that’s the kind of thing you want to do, you know where to go. I’ll see you there, or speak with you soon on the next episode. Bye.