Why Michelangelo Almost Gave Up Painting the Sistine Chapel – 5 Steps To Overcoming Doubt


When Michelangelo was ordered by the Pope to decorate the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he refused.  He replied that he had never done any work of that kind and that he would not undertake the job. However, the Pope insisted and told Michelangelo that his refusal would not be accepted.


“Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.”

When Michelangelo came face to face with the fact that he had no alternative, he mixed his colors and went to work. And thus, what many consider to be the world’s finest paintings came into existence.

“Few of us realize the possibilities locked up within us until necessity compels us to try something we previously thought impossible.” 

Don’t underestimate the impact that motivational speakers, writing, and blogs can have in your life, like this one ;-). Sometimes that little extra push can make the difference between the next quitter and the next masterpiece.

Here are 5 steps to changing the quality of your life and overcoming doubt.


1.  Believe That It Is Possible To Do So.

This may be the hardest part for some. Life has a way of crushing our hopes, dreams, and sometimes even our beliefs. I encourage you to hold onto this with all you have. If you really lack the belief that change is possible for you then borrow somebody else’s belief in you until you can muster up enough of your own.

“Whether you say you can do something or say you can’t – you’re right!” – Henry Ford

2. Surround Yourself With People Who Will Root For You Along the Way. 

3d people partner.

If the people in your life are tearing you down, stifling your spirit, and keeping you from believing in yourself – get rid of them. Phase them out and look for new relationships that inspire and challenge you to be better.  It is said that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Take a look around and see if these people are making you better or worse.

Take charge of the quality of your life. People can help you, motivate you, and inspire you, but you are the one that ultimately must DO the work.

 3Watch What You Say to Yourself.


Get control of your thoughts. There is an excellent post on Marc and Angel Hack Life titled – 12 Negative Thoughts Holding You BackIn the post one of the many thoughts listed that frequently hold us back is this:

“I can’t,” “It’s too late,” “I’m not good enough,” etc. – We never know where we will be at the end of our journey.  We do, however, know where we are today; and from here we can mine our hope and love to set the course forward.  Our attitude shifts our sails and ultimately determines not only our final destination, but more importantly, the voyage and experiences along the way.

Make sure to take inventory of the thoughts that cross your mind and take charge of them. Have some positive affirmations ready when the negative, defeating thoughts start to creep in. Remember, “Your mind acts on what you feed it.”

You can read more about taking control of your thoughts in a post I wrote titled How You May Be Sabotaging Your Life Without Knowing It

Walter Wintle may have said it best in his poem titled “The Man Who Thinks He Can”


If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but think you can’t

It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,

For out in the world we find

Success being with a fellow’s will;

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are:

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins

Is the one who thinks he can.

While it may not be realistic to prevent every negative thought from ever entering our minds, we can reject them when they do come. We can refuse to focus on them or to go over them again and again.

4. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

3D Character and Question Mark

Why do you do what you do? This may be one of the most important questions you ask yourself.

I’m convinced that if more of us asked ourselves the tough questions, like the actual motives and reasons behind our actions, we would have more success in every area of our lives.

Here are some examples of tough question you can ask yourself:

  • How do I keep defeating myself?
  • How did I end up where I am today?
  • What can I do to get to where I know I want to go?
  • What does my family need from me that I am not giving them now?
  • What would happen to my family if I died today?
  • How are my friendships benefiting my life?
  • What is my greatest strength, and am I exercising it in my life?
  • How do I view myself?
  • How do others view me?
  • How am I making things better for my coworkers?
  • Where am I most needed?

5. Be Willing to Take the One Next Step



“Taking just one small step each day will help you develop the character and discipline that will change your life for the better.” – Dr. Randy Carlson

Randy Carlson in his book The Power of One Thingstudies the actions successful people take when pursing their dreams.
Some people have a dream and begin working toward it, one small thing at a time.
These individuals are committed to acting on their vision;
they don’t waif for something or someone else to make them successful.
When they get discouraged or when disappointment knocks them down, they remain focused on their dream.
They get up the next morning, ready to do the next one thing
and unwilling to dwell on the mistakes, problems, or failures of the previous day.

The key is to be intentional. While Michelangelo may have been pushed into painting his masterpiece, I guarantee you he was intentional about using the gift that God gave him once he started to take action.

It is OK to need a push every once in a while. We all do.

Consider this a friendly little push 😉 


What is it that you are refusing to do because you are doubting yourself?

What is that you keep postponing but you know in your gut is the next right move?

What are you waiting for?

If not now when?

It is not enough to have good intentions – you must act on them!

Put a plan in place and like Nike says – JUST DO IT!

*Sources Winning 101 by Van Crouch and The Power of One Thing: How to Intentionally Change Your Life by Dr. Randy Carlson


Why Michelangelo Almost Gave Up Painting the Sistine Chapel

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