What Are You Building?
I travelled to Barcelona last week to review potential training venues for our September 2015 NLP Trainers Training. I have to say that it is an impressive city, measured by economic activity, the 4th biggest city in Europe, steeped in history and renowned for its architecture. Legend attributes the founding of the city in 300 BC to the father of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca; and it was a jewel in the crown of the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. For me what stood out about the city was its architecture both old and modern. The most iconic structure in Barcelona is the Sagrada Família, the Roman Catholic Basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí, on which building commenced in 1882 and is currently scheduled to be completed in 2026. Unfinished though it maybe it has still been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There have been many stunning and beautiful buildings built over the centuries and many cathedrals amongst them, but this one stands out as being unique, bold and unashamedly so. Many people over the years have also been staggered, not by its beauty but by simply by the length of time that it has taken to build it.
Seeing it also reminded me of a metaphor in a book by Nick Owen. To paraphrase; a clerk is inspecting the building of a cathedral and as he passes through the construction works he pauses to speak to some of the masons working on the stones for the massive building to assess their motivation. He asks the first mason what he is doing on the site, to which the mason replies “I am breaking my bones on this God forsaken site cutting stone, for payment barely sufficient to compensate me for my tiresome labours.” Further along his rounds the clerk stops and asked the same question to another mason, “Sir, I am providing my ability for a payment, with which I can comfortably feed and house my family and I hope also to will improve my skills so that, God willing, I can continue to progress and provide for them into my old age.” A little more comforted by this response the clerk continues on until he finds a third mason to whom he asks the same question. “What am I doing here? Good sir I am building a magnificent Cathedral, a building of beauty but also of function which will stand for hundreds or even thousands of years in tribute to God, the people who worship within it and in a small way the men and women who have built it. That sir is what I am doing here.” On completing his rounds the clerk instructed the foreman of the masons to ensure that he hired more masons like the third one he had spoken to.
I urge all of you to search for your passion in life; uncover what it is that you enjoy doing the most and make that your mission. Build a life that others will marvel at. Be yourself and if that means being unique and standing out from the crowd, then be unique, stand out and be true to who you are. Change in life can be swift and sometimes success takes a little bit more focus, perseverance and time. If you too want to build a cathedral in your life then one way would be to lay down a foundation stone in Barcelona in September 2015 on our NLP Trainers Training.
“All of the buildings, all of those cars, were once just a dream in somebody’s head.” Peter Gabriel