Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 04/27/2020
Churchill said that “We build our houses and then they build us.” He was referring to Parliament and its structural restraints. But, as always, he was providing a wonderful insight into the folly of our beliefs.
“Build it and they will come” is the anthem emanating from Field of Dreams, the movie about building a ballfield in a cornfield. I urge people to rephrase this: Build it, tell them you’ve built it, and they will come. The phrase I inserted is called “marketing,” and too many people feel their technology and methodology are sufficient without letting anyone know about them!
That hackneyed worker who explains that he is “laying bricks” is endlessly compared to another laborer who says, “I’m building a cathedral,” to explain how we need a greater perspective. But I’ve always asked, “Why build a cathedral?” I think the greater reason is to bring people closer to God.
Thus, we have jobs, careers, and callings. Those who recognize the last as their guide are those who make it best through crisis, who contribute the most, who deserve to be most valued. It’s not a question of education or sophistication, but of commitment. The hospital maintenance people and the doctors are both working to keep people safe and restore them to health, all in their own way.
Why don’t we begin this week thinking about that?
We must learn to honor excellence in every socially-acceptable human activity—and to scorn shoddiness, however exalted the activity. An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity—and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity—will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.—John Gardner
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