I read the following story this week in Michael Michalko's Cracking Creativity:
"Michelangelo's masterpiece, David, was the result of another sculptor's failed attempt. Back in 1463, the authorities of the cathedral of Florence acquired a sixteen-foot-high chunk of white marble to be carved into a sculpture. Two well-known sculptors worked on the piece and gave up, and the badly mangled block was put in storage. Other sculptors were brought in and asked to carve a statue. They refused to work with the mangled block and demanded a new block. Their demands were not economically feasible, so the project was scrapped by the cathedral. Forty years later, Michelangelo took the mangled block of marble from storage and carved it into the youthful, courageous David within eighteen months. He took what existed and sculpted it into one of the world's greatest statues."
While Michalko's recitation differs slightly from the record at wikipedia, the emphasis on starting from another's failure is well taken - as is building on another's success.
I was reminded when reading the story for the first time, that my preconceived notions are often wrong. When I move beyond them and begin to experiment, not giving up as if all were lost, I make some of the greatest discoveries. I also recognize that my failures, which I perceive as total and absolute, may not ruin things forever, but open the door for someone more gifted than I to construct something of great value. I could give examples...
It seems better to approach life with an understanding that I am unique and have unique abilities. When I live from my strengths, I live as my Creator intended. When I live from my weakness, the block may lie ruined until the one with a true gift takes it up and releases what is contained within. So, as with Paul and Apollos, I may sow while another waters. Ultimately, God uses both to nurture the growth He brings to pass.