posted on November 28, 2009 08:40
Mt. Rushmore is the culmination of a 17-year-effort it took for Gutzon Borglum to lead the sculpting of four U.S. presidents.
I’m blown away by the aspect of 17 years of effort toward such a big, hairy audacious goal. When have I worked even 17 weeks, let alone 17 months, toward a particular accomplishment? Earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees comes to mind. But it seems that for many people, the vast stretch of decades that follow their formal schooling is a string of short-term yearnings toward relatively unsatisfying outcomes. For most of the quietly desperate populace, there is no Mt. Rushmore that stands as the fruit of their labors.
To carve for 17 years….to be captivated by the compelling image of what could be…that is a person fully engaged, fully alive, giving his all in the moment for the sake of both the present and the future.
Mt. Rushmore is a sculpture of leadership—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, in this case. Yet it points to a larger need, I believe: the perseverance and dedication required to carve out our own monuments of leadership that impact the world around us. What in this current age is worth persevering toward as an informal or formal leader, something that transcends popularity polls or fly-by-night movements or even social media phenomena?
It is a question each of us must answer. We each have our Mt. Rushmores to carve, and the tools, help and encouragement we need already are at hand if we have eyes to see.