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His artwork still garners attention to this day, more visitors making the trip than ever. Who would have thought this odd creation would stand the test of time? Luckily for Smithson’s legacy he took the risk of making the art as early as possible in his life, as his helicopter went down 3 years later, killing him far too young at the age of 35.
The visionary artist was considered a bit crazy upon announcing his idea for the creation, and perhaps rightly so, as the location was a 1-2 hour detour off the main highway, with nearly 20 miles of bumpy dirt road, and his art would be submerged underwater depending on the runoff that year.
Made completely of the elements from adjacent mountains, such as basalt (lava rock), salt and sand, it took a team of bulldozers and backhoes over a week to place each rock in its chosen spot, only to then have to redo it when the artist felt it wasn’t up to his standards.
Obviously he didn’t know he would die a few years later while surveying his latest project in Texas, yet somehow he had the intuition to get his art out of him before his passing. Very much like the old Wayne Dyer saying, “Don’t die with your music still inside you”.
The question comes down to legacy and artistic expression: What is your life’s Spiral Jetty? What is that thing that stands long after you are gone?
There are plenty of noble and beautiful answers, none being wrong, all just a matter of perspective. Perhaps yours is:
- An invention that benefits the world
- The students who have gone through your classroom
- The improvement you made to the business systems/products
- Mentoring and leadership in the workplace
Whatever yours is, and how it stands the test of time, is something to take into consideration.
In viewing my own mortality, having lost relatives and dear friends throughout this year, the question of legacy and “is my music dying within me” is a constant source of inspiration and equally angst. Which project do I work on first? What if I have so many ideas, how do I just get them out?
It is very rare to celebrate art that is unfinished. Just ask Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest mountain carving, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is a short drive from the finished and much celebrated Mt. Rushmore, yet very few people take the time to go see Crazy Horse only a few miles away, although it is very impressive and projected to dwarf Mt. Rushmore, unfortunately it doesn’t have enough funding to be fulfilled.
What art are you creating currently? What is still here when you’re gone?
As a father I have found my greatest life’s work is being the best Dad I can possibly attempt to be. These children are my masterpieces, and yet they can choose to do what they want with their lives by their teen years!
As a man I have realized the way I live my life can be a noble promise – yet will it stand after my life ends?
So what still stands when we are gone?
Does it matter to you?
I am entering my 40th year in 2018. It is a real time for reflection. What is my Spiral Jetty? And what is yours?
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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