A friend read my book, ReModel, and asked me:
Josh, what’s your model about yourself?
You wrote about how people can be Cathedral-Builders instead of being miserable. What’s your equivalent of being a Cathedral-Builder?
“Cathedral-Builder” refers to the parable of The Three Stonecutters:
Many years ago, a passerby saw three workers cutting stones in a quarry. Though they were doing similar work, one looked unhappy, another looked content, and a third looked overjoyed. The passerby asked them what they were doing.
The unhappy stonecutter replied, “I’m doing what it takes to make a living.”
The content one answered, “I am a stonemason practicing my craft.”
The overjoyed one looked up with a visionary glance and said, “I am building the greatest cathedral in the land.”
If you prefer happiness to misery, it helps to be like the third stonecutter, what I call a Cathedral-Builder. If you are a leader, if you can lead people to becoming Cathedral-Builders, they’ll be happier, enjoy getting more done, and so on.
What I do: What’s my cathedral?
I’ve thought about this question for years. Coaching and developing courses when you aren’t a full professor risks job security and income. Education isn’t the most lucrative market, especially compared to what someone can do with in Ivy-League PhD and MBA. People don’t understand you and some choices. It’s out of the mainstream. But I love what I do and expect to make a huge difference in how we teach some of the most important skills, to the point where I expect the industry to follow.
So what am I doing in my mind? What is my cathedral?
I teach people to create meaning, value, importance, and purpose in their lives and the lives of people around them.
Notice that I’m not creating meaning, value, importance, and purpose for them. I’m enabling them to create it for themselves. I might also add:
Though my courses are called Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Sales those are just names that are well-known in the market. They are applications of what my courses teach, which few other courses do, if any.
My courses teach empathy, compassion, initiative, responsibility, integrity, authenticity, passion, and other skills many people think you have to be born with.
I added another perspective that I’ll have to wait for another post to describe in depth, but that I see the great problems the world is facing are social and that social problems are best solved by social solutions—think climate change, limited access to resources like drinkable water, rising sea levels.
We never had so solve such global problems and don’t know how to solve them. Many people are trying to solve them with technology. I see technological approaches to social problems as important, but insufficient. We have more experience with technological approaches—they got us to the Moon—but I don’t think they fit the problem here. I believe the problem determines the solution.
One of my cathedrals is to help create a community of people with relevant skills to solve the social problems we’re facing as a species with finite resources. I don’t think we’re close to solving many, as the headlines tell us daily. I believe my courses will create communities able to solve these problems like the communities that got us to the Moon in the 60s.
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