Are You Building A Cathedral?

Some time ago I was leading a book study on The Slight Edge. A good friend and thought-provoking participant made a comment about people in the workplace who are not fully engaged. They are there, warming a chair, but not really pouring themselves into their role and purpose.

It reminds me of a story I heard years ago:

“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.”

According to Gallup surveys on employee engagement, less than 30% of workers are actually engaged in the workplace.  That means 3 out of 10 show up with purpose, focus and some level of passion for their work.  Yet, 7 out of 10 don’t! What does that cost companies today!?? In dollars and in overall workplace happiness, it’s got to be devastating.

But then, let’s take it a step further: what about the individual? Are we truly engaged in who we are, how we are blessed, and what we love? Not consistently. I think this is a part of the high increase in anxiety and depression we hear about so much today. Not that real physical and psychological issues don’t exist…but so many of us just aren’t engaged with our own lives. And that is even more devastating.

What drives you? What gives you joy? Is it the things you experience? I remember one speaker saying that happiness comes from the word “happenstance,” which is a moment in time and often by chance – we experience it and it’s gone. Happiness is fleeting.  How about the gaps in between? That’s the difference maker – love the in-between. It’s a way of thinking. A philosophy of life. It’s an attitude – like the third Mason who was building a cathedral.  He wasn’t waiting for it to be finished to be “happy,” he already was, in that moment, and the next, knowing why he was doing what he was doing.