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line 16 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /var/www/sachachua.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-seo/wp-seo-main.php on line 94 Warning: include(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /var/www/sachachua.com/blog/wp-includes/template-loader.php on line 74 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /var/www/sachachua.com/blog/wp-includes/template.php on line 501 Warning: include(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /var/www/sachachua.com/blog/wp-content/themes/sacha-v3/header.php on line 1 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /var/www/sachachua.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-seo/wp-seo-main.php on line 94 Circuses, pots, and cathedrals: three key stories - sacha chua :: living an awesome life Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /var/www/sachachua.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/pope/lib/class.component_registry.php on line 939 Warning: include_once(): 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Circuses, pots, and cathedrals: three key stories

There are three stories I refer to again and again: taking the first circus, making more pots, and building a cathedral. They form part of my approach to life.

Taking the first circus

My parents told the story of the first circus to us when we were growing up. On her blog, she wrote:

It came from an anecdote that my husband and I read in the Readers’ Digest about a little girl in a town soon to be visited by three circuses. Her father explained to her that the family was not financially able to take her to all three circuses and could take her only to one. The first circus would be just a small one, while the third would be the best and biggest, and presumably the most expensive. “I’ll take the first circus,” she said, and so her parents took her to the first. A few months later, when the second circus came, the family’s finances had improved and they were able to take her to the second. And finally, they found that they could afford to get tickets to the third and most expensive circus.

Harvey Chua, I’ll take the first circus

The story of taking the first circus reminds me to take opportunities when they come up. I tend to be conservative and frugal, but I’m also good at figuring out when it’s time to take that leap.

Making more pots

In a previous blog post, I wrote:

There’s a story about a pottery teacher who divided the class into two groups. A student in one group would be graded based on the quality of one pot that they turned in at the end of the semester, while a student in the other group would be graded based on the sheer number of all the pots submitted throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, students in the second group–those measured only on quantity–had produced better pots than those who had focused on quality. In the process of creating a large number of pots, the second group had learned from their mistakes, while the first group had been paralyzed by endless theorizing about what a perfect pot would be.

Me, Of sewing more dresses and making more pots

I use the pot-making story a lot. For example, when I struggled with writing, the pot-making story reminded me to just get something out there. The pot-story reminds me that even mistakes help you move towards mastery.

Building a cathedral

Several builders were on a construction site. A visitor asked the first worker what he was doing. The first builder replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The visitor asked the second, who replied, “I’m building a wall.” The visitor asked the third, who proudly answered, “I’m building a cathedral.”

The cathedral story reminds me of the power of vision. Good vision can turn any work into a joy. The lack of vision can make even the most talented lost.

The story also tells me that vision can be created by anyone. Even though I’m a recent hire, I have a strong vision for what I want to help the company and the world become, and I have a strong vision for myself and who I want to grow into.

Circuses, pots, and cathedrals – shorthand for how I live. What are your key stories?

Thanks to Paul for the nudge to write about this!

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  • http://artofgreatthings.com Jeffrey Tang

    Sacha,

    These are lovely stories; thank you for sharing. Here’s one of my favorite stories:

    A young man once approached a famous author, saying, “Please, teach me how to be a great writer.”

    “What have you written?” asked the author.

    “Nothing yet,” replied the young man. “That’s why I’ve come to you – to learn how to write.”

    The author shook his head. “When you get up in the morning and immediately think of writing, when you can’t go to bed at night until you’ve worked on your writing – then you’re a writer.”

    ***

    For much of my life, I read this story the wrong way. I thought, “One day, I’ll wake up and be inspired to write – then I’ll be a writer.”

    It wasn’t until recently that I realized that waiting for inspiration was a terrible way to go about things. A writer isn’t someone who wakes up inspired; a writer is someone who wakes up and decides to think about writing, who chooses to write before going to bed.

  • Jef Menguin

    Dear Sacha,

    The story of the Cathedral builder is my favorite introduction story for two of my training programs: Leadership Seminars and Personal Effectiveness Seminars.

    This story invites the participants to question their thinking about what they do in life.

    Thank you for sharing this and the other two stories. Keep on writing.

    Jef Menguin
    http://jefmengui.com

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