The importance of finding meaning in your work

Out for a walk one morning, a woman came across a construction site where three men were working. Curious, she approached one of them and asked what he was doing. Clearly annoyed that she had bothered him, he barked, »Can’t you see? I’m laying bricks!«

Not easily put off, she asked the next man what he was doing. He responded matter-of-fact, »I’m building a brick wall 30 feet tall, 100 feet wide, and 18 inches thick.« Then, turning his attention to the first man, he said, »Hey, you just passed the end of the wall. You need to take off that last brick«.

Still not satisfied, the woman asked the third man what he was doing. Despite the fact that he appeared to be doing exactly the same thing as the other two men, he looked up with excitement and said, »Oh, let me tell you! I am building the greatest cathedral the world has ever known!« She could  tell he was eager to tell her more. But before he had a chance, he was distracted by loud bickering between the first two men over what to do about the one errant brick. Turning to the two of them, he said, »Hey, guys, don’t worry about it. This will be an inside corner. The whole thing will get plastered over and nobody will ever see that extra brick. Just move on to the next layer.«


Source: Lead with a Story: A guide to crafting business narratives that captivate, convince, and inspire by: Paul Smith, 2012

Lessons from this story:

  • How you view your work determines how much you enjoy it. If what you do for work is just a job you do it will be a lot harder for you to do it when things get tough.
  • Find a bigger meaning in what you do than just a paycheck. 

Are there any lessons I missed from this story? Please let me know in the comment section.

Source of the featured image:

I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know what you think. Talk to you in the comment section.


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