NEW CASTLE —
So I’m about halfway through a book called “Burn Your Goals.”
It’s a compilation of motivational thoughts and strategies written by Joshua Medcalf and Jamie Gilbert, two former soccer standouts who now conduct mental training for athletes, coaches and entrepreneurs.
Their overarching message — which encourages us to focus on commitments and processes rather than outcomes — really speaks to me. I am a huge advocate of “playing present.”
Medcalf and Gilbert share a short story called “John the Carpenter” that hammers that point home.
And it crushed me. I’m still not sure why, but it really did.
Maybe I felt guilty. Maybe it gave me hope.
I don’t know.
But either way, I had to stop and walk away for awhile after I read it.
Maybe you will, too.
‘JOHN THE CARPENTER’
(As written in "Burn Your Goals")
There was a carpenter from England named John.
He had built hundreds of houses for his company over the last 15 years, and his work was so good that the firm became one of the premiere developers in the world. John worked extremely hard, putting in overtime nearly every day. He paid special attention to detail on every project.
One day, John decided he was going to retire. So he spoke with his boss about it and they agreed he would work one last week.
His boss called him the next morning and asked him if he would build just one more house for a very special friend of his. Half-heartedly, John agreed and began to work on the house.
Though John had built many incredible houses, this one was different. Many times in the past, John had pushed through days, or even weeks, where he struggled to find the motivation, but he just didn’t feel it on this project. Knowing this was his last week of work, John simply showed up and just went through the motions.
He bought materials and supplies that were second rate. He delegated a lot of tasks without providing guidance or supervision. He worked only the hours “he was supposed to.”
He showed up each day with little joy and without the drive to be better today than he was the day before.
Despite the lack of desire and motivation, the house was built on time and up to code, although it didn’t meet the high standards John had set in the past.
Walking into the office on his final day, John met with his boss to shake hands and say goodbye. After doing so, John walked to the door to leave, but his boss asked him to come back.
“Hey, John,” his boss said. “One last thing.”
As John turned to face him, his boss handed him a small box with a ribbon around it. John opened the box and pulled out a shiny set of silver keys.
“The house is yours, John,” his boss said. “I just wanted to thank you for all your years of hard work.”
He then handed the keys to John.
Immediately, John’s heart sank.
If only he had known he was building his own house, he would have done it all differently. He would have worked with the utmost passion and precision. He would have spent twice the amount of time and would have showed up every day with a clear focus on the job at hand, knowing that he was going to reap what he was sowing.
Here’s my take on the story.
Your life is no coincidence.
Neither is mine.
I am WHO I am — I am WHERE I am — because of ME.
I’ve chosen this.
No matter how much I complain about government. No matter how often I blame other people. No matter who I believe is frustrating my progress.
My life. My decisions. My dreams. My regrets.
God has given us all that freedom to choose. For better or for worse.
We are what we eat. We are what we watch. We are who we spend time with. We are what we read.
Most important, we are what we THINK.
Truth is, we are all building our own houses during our time on this earth.
Thought by thought.
Choice by choice.
Action by action.
In the end, your life is no coincidence.
But it is a major construction project.
And you’re the carpenter.
Here’s hoping you nail it.