O'Reilly logo

The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers by Devanandham Henry, Nicole Hutchison, Arthur Pyster

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

2SIX UNCOMMON VALUES

THE PARABLE OF THE THREE STONECUTTERS

Once upon a time, a traveler came upon a quarry and decided to explore it. Hearing the pinging of a hammer, the traveler came across a stonecutter and asked what he was doing. The stonecutter replied that he had the hardest job in the world. “Every day I have to move around huge stones and try to shape them. All this back‐breaking work just to make a living, and I barely make enough to care for my family.” Feeling sympathy, the traveler thanked him, gave him a coin, and continued walking.

Next the traveler came across a second stonecutter. She did not complain and was focused on her work. When the traveler asked what she was doing, the stonecutter replied, “I am doing the best job of stonecutting in the entire quarry. The work is hard, but I am satisfied with what I do and very proud of how well I do it. And I earn enough to make a living.” The traveler praised her work and went on.

And then the traveler came across a third stonecutter and noticed that the stonecutter was hot and sweaty and covered in dust, but he seemed happy and was cheerfully whistling a tune. The traveler was astonished and asked what he was doing. The stonecutter looked up and said, “Me? I am building a cathedral.”

The lesson of this parable is captured in Harvard Magazine’s website [1]. We bring greater meaning and joy to our lives when we understand the context in which we live and a vision of what our work will achieve – i.e. the value our ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required