His David was in the stone clamoring to be freed
— Michael Angelo

With all the wonderful mediums of creating art, one of the most compelling is designing by eliminating.

A painter adds color to a canvas. 

A photographer captures a moment.

A dancer choreographs movement into an original dance.

A conductor orchestrates distinct instruments to create one sound.

These forms of creation are achieved by curation. 

There is something to be said of a sculptor, however. A sculptor creates by eliminating pieces that are keeping the master piece from being seen. It’s what I refer to as “design by elimination.”

Design by elimination

For many of us, the masterpiece of our lives is hiding behind the excess waiting to be removed. We live our lives, encumbered by the “extras” that surround us. Our minds are cluttered with negative thoughts; our hearts weighed by heavy emotions; our bodies slowed down by excess fat; our souls deflated by restless moments.

From our closets, to our debt, to our commitments to our stress…we live overwhelmingly cluttered, encumbered lives.

Yet, what would it look like if we were proactive in designing the master piece of our lives by eliminating the extra from it? What would a design by elimination look like for us?

There is a passage in the Bible that speaks to the heart and addresses the art of designing by elimination:

”…let us throw off everything that hinders

and the sin that so easily entangles. 

And let us run with perseverance

the race marked out for us.”


The author of this passage tells us that the “extra” in our lives is actually hindering us from “running with perseverance the race marked our for us.”

We all have “a race.”

It’s what we were called, created and purposed to do. We all have it. It’s what makes our lives a masterpiece. But when there is excess anything, it slows us down in such a way that keeps us from fully achieving it.

What is your “extra?” What is the excess in your life? What weighs you down?

Perhaps a better question is, “what’s your race?” What is the purpose that at one time was clear and exciting for you? What is the masterpiece that is waiting to be created by trimming away the things that are covering it up?

With the coming of a new year, I am committed to “throwing off everything that hinders me,” and “running the race marked out for me.”

I want my life to be lived engaging only the things that add value to me, and my contribution to the world. I want to create space for the things that not only matter, but actually matter.

I want to design my life by elimination.

So I invite you to explore and examine your life, with me. Take some time to identify one, or two or twenty things you can begin to chip away and sculpt the masterpiece that is you.

May the passing of 2018 and the entering of 2019 serve as a welcoming of the masterpiece that is all that you are.

I am with you and for you my friends. Let’s do this, together!

May we live today, a story we’d like to tell tomorrow.

- Joel

Joel GonzalezComment