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 two wolves inside each of us

The Cherokee tell of a young boy who is brought before the council of elders for his aggressive behavior. One of the wisest of the elders takes the boy aside and shares with him this bit of wisdom: “I am not surprised that you are so aggressive. You see, each of us has, in his own soul, two wolves. One of these wolves is good, the other evil. They are both of equal strength and are locked in a violent battle to the death!” The young boy thinks about this…

What do you hear – focus on

One day two friends Gerry and Peter were walking down a sidewalk in Washington D.C.,during lunch time. People were husslin’ and busslin’ along the sidewalks, car honks and hurried engine noises filled the streets. In the middle of all this traffic, Peter stopped and said, “hey, a cricket!” “What?” said Gerry. “Yeah, a cricket,” Peter answered. “Look here,” and he pulled aside some of the bushes that separated the sidewalk from the government buildings. There in the shade was a cricket chirping away. “Wow,” said Gerry, “How did you hear that with all this noise and traffic?”…

What life lessons can you learn growing tomatoes

The young apprentice met with his older mentor the town Sage for his weekly chat at his home. “You seem troubled,” observed the sage. “You know that project that I’ve been working on? It just didn’t work and I couldn’t get the result that I was after,” the young apprentice told the sage. “That happens sometimes,” said the Sage, shrugging his shoulders. “But I worked so hard, I deserved a better outcome,” responded the apprentice with frustration. The sage sat in silence for a moment.  “Let me show you something,”…

How big of a splash you want to make is in your hands

One day a young apprentice and his mentor were on one of their regular walks going through the young apprentices teachings when they came across a pond. At the time, they were discussing the young apprentices wish to make a bigger impact with his work, when suddenly the mentor bent down and picked up a small pebble. He threw it into the water and they both watched the ripples spread. Watching the pebble hit the lake and the ripples spread the young apprentice said to his mentor, “I want to…

Common sense is often not so common

Once there were four Indian medicine men who were considered to be the most clever and knowledgeable across all the prairies and forests. They learned nearly everything about nearly anything and were often asked for advice and to find solutions for the most difficult problems.  One day, a young Indian boy asked which of the four was the wisest because of course there must be one more wise than the others. This caused much arguing and debating among the people. To find out once and for all, one of the…

Two ants, sugar, salt and a lesson about change

Once there were two ants. One lived in a sack of salt while the other in a sack of sugar. The sugar ant once visited her neighbour and tasted the salt in her sack.  Finding it bitter she said, “Do come and visit my house. I’m sure you’ll find the food there much to your liking.”  The salt-fed ant accepted her neighbour’s invitation but being naturally cautious and not wanting to run short of food she took a grain of salt with her in her mouth. When she ate the sugar…

From a misfortune to great fortune – what is really holding you back

A long time ago, a Monk set out on his travels accompanied by his assistant, a Brother. Night was falling when the Monk told the Brother to go on ahead to find lodging. The Brother searched the deserted landscape until he found a humble shack, in the middle of nowhere. A poor family lived in the hovel. The mother, father and children were dressed in rags. The Brother asked if he and the Monk could spend the night in their dwelling. “You are most welcome to spend the night,” said…

A life lesson about giving it everything you got

A father tells his 12-year-old son to go into the back yard and a remove a tree stump. The boy, eager to show his dad how he can master this manly task, runs out and begins pushing on the stump with all his might. After about twenty minutes of huffing and puffing, the stump hasn’t budged. The boy turns to realize his dad has been outside watching him this whole time. Embarrassed, he tells him, “I’m sorry Dad, I can’t do it.” His Dad just smiles and says, “Son, give…

Sometimes you already have the solution for your problem, you just do not see it

During the early days of the Space Race, the USA and the Soviets were desperate to gain the critical edge that would see them first to land a spacecraft on the moon. Prestige, acclamation, and national honour depended upon it. The key, as it so often is, was the gathering of quality information. The technology had to be refined, and the effects of weightlessness and other non-terrestrial factors on the astronauts explored and understood. Naturally, the astronauts were in the front line of research. They were there, they were living…