Four marble pillars.

Don’t Let Today’s Actions Crush Tomorrow’s Goals (A Parable)

You are a sculptor carving marble.

The marble block stands before you. Untouched. Some 20 feet of towering rock.

Phwoooh, you whistle. Well, this statue’s not going to carve itself. Time to get started. You walk over to your dusty work bag and from it grab two things, a hammer and a chisel. You approach the marble, eyeing it intently, deciding where to best begin.

I shall start with the feet. And with that, you put hammer to chisel and make the first of many strikes.


Your vision

The sun rises on a new day. You’re back in the shop, working once again. Clink, Clink. Fragments fall left and right as you make your way to the center of the beast. To where you imagine will be the feet. But not just any feet, feet adorned in the finest marble shoes the world will ever see.

Shoes that lead up to legs, seemingly in movement. Running towards some invisible foe.

And from those legs, a torso and arms, twisted and tangled in combat. All leading to the head. To a face, posed stoically, with fierce eyes that know not defeat.

It will be a crowning masterpiece. It will be your legacy.


Daily progress

Days continue to pass and still you make your way to the feet. To the center point, right at the bottom of the block. A point that once reached will allow you to start working your way up.

It’s tiring work, carving marble, but it’s rewarding.

And in this, your most anticipated piece, the world stands anxious to see what you will do. You can’t wait to show them. Clink, Clink, Clink. The marble continues to chip away. Until, at last, the starting point of the feet is finally in sight.


The bottom nears

Excitedly, you chip away from all sides, forming what looks like, to the outsider, an exclamation point (!). Could it be a symbol of your excitement? A metaphor of passion? Passersby wonder as they go about their day.

Only a few more inches. 

You begin to work faster. You’ve been toiling for weeks and now it’s finally within sight. Clink, Clink, Clink, Clink.

And then, suddenly, there’s darkness.

You’ve been crushed by the marble.

Like a logger slain by the tree she cuts down, you too have fallen victim to the beast you set out to tame. The marble, unbalanced, finally gave way from your last strike. And in that, it toppled, like a lopsided domino, right upon its patron.


Many hanging blocks.


The consequences of your daily actions

The things you do each day, though seemingly insignificant, result in very real consequences. Often in the medium to long term.

  • Run half a mile a day, be in great shape six months from now.
  • Read three pages a day, be well-read a year from now.
  • Get enough sleep each day, make better decisions weeks from now.

Therefore, you need to be deliberate about your schedule if you want to achieve the goal success you desire. If you let your days slip by, you won’t get to where you want to go.


Deliberateness with your time

Instead, you need to be thoughtful.

To be intentional about your morning routine, about the food you eat, about the people you talk to. It won’t feel important in the moment, but those decisions add up with time.

After all, much like the sculptor, you may feel like you’re creating a masterpiece when in reality you’re creating your demise. That’s not what you want though. In order to create your life’s masterpiece, you need to be thoughtful about the actions you take.

You need to be strategic with every swing of the hammer and every strike of the chisel.


Are you aware of your creation?

It doesn’t all need to happen at once.

Recall that it took many weeks for you, the sculptor, to be crushed by your creation. At any point, you could have realized the error and corrected course, thus changing the end result.

So it goes in life as well.

As you navigate through your day, ask yourself: Is this leading me to where I want to go?

If it is, keep doing it. If it’s not, make a change. For instance, if you realize that the food you eat, while delicious, isn’t leading you to the health you want, make a change. If you love splurging on clothes today, but realize that the excess spending won’t get you the trip you desire, adjust things.

Ask for help, read a book on the topic, do things differently.


Your statue moving forward

Speaking of help, what became of you, the sculptor? Were you truly slain by the marble? No. Luckily, some of those nosy passersby witnessed the event and came to your aid, pulling the block off you with only moments to spare.

You’re hurt, embarrassed, and have a bruised ego, but slain? No. No, you live to sculpt another day.

After a quick stint in the hospital, you return to your shop, changed for the better. Because now you know, always start from the top.


PS: Let me show you how to achieve your goals.

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