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November 29, 2017

Would you like to Build a Cathedral?


The effectiveness of most methods of motivation used in today’s challenges, branding traditional “carrot and stick” approaches as out of date and out of touch with what is necessary to motivate people. The most effective techniques available to us now are comprised of three primary elements– autonomy, mastery and purpose.

   A great example comes from a parable:

A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”

A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”

Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.

With startling clarity, this story illustrates that purpose has the power to transform not only our attitude about the work that we do, but the quality of our work as well. And if purpose can help one transcend even a physically laborious task as that undertaken by the three masons in our story, then imagine the impact that clarity of purpose can have on our work.

What purpose drives you to achieve the results you seek in your life?

How do you see your role as a parent?  How do your children see their tasks at learning?

Would you like to build a cathedral?

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-inspired by actonparent blog