The Story We Tell Ourselves
August 3, 2021
In 14th century France, a traveler once came across three stone cutters at a town square.
Curious, the traveler asked the first stonecutter what he was doing.
“What? Can’t you see? I am an unfortunate soul who can do nothing better to do than cut stones,” the stonecutter responded morosely.
Surprised by the petulant attitude of the first stonecutter, the traveler turned to the second stonecutter and asked him what he was doing.
“I am a specialist in cutting stones, and my job is to cut this block of stone to make sure that its edges are straight and smooth. The builder will use the stones I cut to erect a high wall.” responded the second stonecutter.
Feeling a lot better but still unclear about why the stone cutters were sitting in the middle of the town square, the traveler turned to the third stonecutter, who had a radiant and pleasant look, and asked him the same question.
“I am building a cathedral,” the third stonecutter replied.
The first stonecutter represents the modern-day worker bee. A hard-working person trying to earn a living- someone very transactional, selling his time for money.
The second stonecutter represents someone who has some engagement and pride in the work being done. He knows that he is bringing some specific skills and value to the task at hand.
The third stonecutter has a clear vision about how his work would impact society and future generations. He derives meaning from his work, and this fills him with a sense of happiness and fulfillment.
We can all learn from the third stonecutter. We need to craft meaning for the work we do every day. When the work we do fills us with a sense of purpose and meaning, we will experience happiness and fulfillment.
It is not the work we do but the story we tell ourselves about the work we do that makes all the difference !!!