During the construction of St. Paul’s cathedral in London, British architect Sir Christopher Wren asked three men what they were doing.

The first replied, “I am cutting a piece of stone.” The second said: “I am earning five shillings two pence a day.”  The third man answered, “I am building a beautiful cathedral.” 

They were doing the exact same thing. But, one man had a job.  The second, a career.  The third man had a calling.

This week we are looking at some of the lessons from Shawn Achor‘s powerful book The Happiness Advantage, including: what’s more important: the facts, or how we think about the facts?  

Time and again, the research shows, it’s the latter.  As the story goes, while visiting NASA for the first time, President John F. Kennedy asked a janitor who was mopping the floor what he did.  “I’m helping send a man to the moon,” he replied.  

There are plenty of doctors who have a “job” and janitors who have a “calling.” 

How we think impacts not only ourselves, but others as well. In one study, elementary school teachers were told at the beginning of the school year which students were gifted. At the end of the year, the achievement tests confirmed this fact. The only problem: the students in the gifted group weren’t gifted. They were randomly chosen. The teacher’s beliefs had been unknowingly communicated and transformed into reality.


Reflection:  Is there an aspect of my life that would benefit from “thinking about my thinking?”

Action: Challenge ourselves to think differently.

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