Restoring Pride: The Lost Virtue of Our Age (1995)
Instead of supposing that a work of art must be something that all can behold—a poem, a painting, a book, a great building—consider making your own life a work of art. You have yourself to begin with, and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be what you are, and even though you may be quite content with who you are, it will not be hard for you to think of something much greater that you might become. It need not be something spectacular or even something that will attract notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself, and then attain—something that you can take a look at, with honest self-appraisal, and be proud of.
Many people ... go through life with hardly an original thought; gravitate from one pleasure or amusement to another; gain a livelihood doing what someone else has assigned; flee boredom as best they can; marry and beget children; and then, without having made the slightest difference of any unique significance, die and decay like any animal.