Creative LeadershipCreativity

Are You Hauling Rocks or Building a Better World?

Years ago in Communist Russia, a visitor happened upon a group of workers with a sledgehammer clearing a field.  It was tough work, hauling huge rocks, shoveling, and moving stones by hand. But the visitor noticed they were all singing as they worked.  He asked one of the workers – “How can you sing while hauling rocks?”  Without hesitation the worker replied: “Oh, we’re not hauling rocks, we’re building a better world.”

When it comes to your career, what’s your perspective?  Are you hauling rocks or building a better world?  In the day to day battle, it’s often tough to see the bigger picture and learn the impact you’re making in the world.  But perspective matters.

Step back.  Take the big view.  Sure you may be hauling rocks, but there’s a bigger purpose behind it.  Stop complaining about the shoveling, and start celebrating your part in building a better world.


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  1. This is a great reminder, Phil. This really speaks to vision. If we don’t see how our contribution at work impacts and ties into vision, it’s easy to become demotivated…to go through the motions and “haul rocks.”

    This should speak to leaders as to the importance of helping your team see the big picture…how what they do daily contributes to the vision. I think this is one of the most important communication challenges leaders face.

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