Many years ago, in the city of Tokyo, lived a carpenter famous for the quality of his constructions. The precious and meticulous work of him was particularly appreciated by the nobles, wealthy merchants and other notables of the city.
Everyone knew that Kota relentlessly pursued excellence and was always learning new techniques, even late in his career.
However, after decades of relentless work, Kota was beginning to feel tired and wanted to retire. For more than 40 years he had built the most beautiful houses in Tokyo and now he only dreamed of traveling with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren.
Kota informed the head of the company of his decision to leave the construction business in order to rest and enjoy the last years of his life.
The boss was very grateful to the carpenter, but he made one last request: “Kota, our company will always be in your debt for your wonderful work. However, we would like to ask you one last favor. Would you be willing to build one last house? It is a fundamental project for us, it is for one of our most important clients. We need your magic hands!”
Kota was very frustrated that he had to postpone a long-cherished dream, but he finally agreed, out of compromise.
In all his work, the carpenter had always been very diligent: he carefully chose the best materials and supervised the work of others to make sure every detail was perfect. But it was not so in this house.
The idea of carrying out this project weighed too much on him, so he delegated many of his responsibilities to inexperienced workers, so that the final quality suffered. The carpenter did not put much care or enthusiasm.
Of course, when the house was delivered, it met all the standards, but it was far from being one of his wonderful works. The carpenter knew, deep in his heart, that he had not worked as he used to because his mind was elsewhere.
Once the work was finished, the carpenter invited his boss to visit the house. They took a tour and the boss said, “Thank you Kota, thank you very much! We just have one last thing for you.”
At these words, the carpenter’s frustration and anger grew, imagining that his boss would want to give him another assignment, but to his surprise, he presented him with a small package with a red bow and said: “We are very grateful for your work all these years, this gift is our way of showing it to you.”
When Kota opened the gift, he found some keys inside. The boss smiling said: “The house you just built is yours!”
The carpenter’s heart stopped for an instant. His eyes filled with tears and he was grateful for the gift, but he also felt embarrassed by his careless attitude and all the mistakes he had made. If he had known that he was building his house, he would have taken much more care. Now he couldn’t do it anymore.
How are you building your life?
This story applies perfectly to each of us. Just like the carpenter, every day we work on our “house”, we build our life brick by brick, but many times we don’t realize it or are not fully aware of it.
As a result, we study only to pass exams, not to learn. We work without enthusiasm, more for the salary than for improving ourselves professionally. We train distractedly, more because it is something that has to be done than to really take care of our body. We even make decisions lightly, without paying too much attention, because we let inconsequential things wear us down or occupy our minds. So we also end up neglecting what really matters, such as our rest, family, connection with others or even our dreams.
Sometimes we live too busy with day-to-day obligations to pay attention to the final result. But each of the decisions we make on a daily basis, each of our actions, has a weight in the final result.
Only by being fully present, putting soul and body, we will be able to achieve our dreams. Every day we build our life. Life is not a pipe dream but the result of our attitudes and choices of the past… Tomorrow will be the result of our attitudes and choices of today.
It would be better if we take the teaching of the carpenter’s tale and face each day with the awareness that we are building our “house”, we are building ourselves. Remember that the way you do the little things determines the big end results.