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Thomas Clifford’s Martial Arts

Extraordinarily High Personal Standards

Extraordinarily High Personal Standards

Posted: June 18, 2019

Dear Friend,

I trust this blog finds you well.

Do you appreciate high quality and attention to detail?

Of course you do.

Everyone does.

We all love perfection.

However, the actual process of perfecting things is an entirely different matter.

What would happen if you gave more effort and attention to your tasks?

Who would benefit most?

Here is a story that may give you a different perspective.

Please read on...

The Carpenter and Apprentice...

A young man apprenticed under a Master Carpenter for 9 years.

They did a variety of work, specializing in building custom homes.

The young man was talented.

But he lacked discipline.

He decided to leave the profession to pursue a less demanding office job.

He wanted to enjoy a more leisurely life, without the constant stress and responsibility imposed on him by his employer.

The Master Carpenter expected excellence.

He insisted on strict attention to every detail.

His meticulousness was too overwhelming for the Apprentice.

The young man felt that he needed to move on.

The Master Carpenter was sorry to see his Apprentice go.

He had worked hard, cultivated tremendous skill, and was developing the attributes of a seasoned craftsman.

The Master Carpenter asked his apprentice if he would help him build just one more house - as a personal favor.

"You are totally responsible for this one. Stay within the budget, but top grade materials. Focus on the quality of the product, not the quantity of the profit. Pay attention to value. The value will fetch a good price. It always does."

The Apprentice accepted the request, but it was obvious that his heart was not in his work.

He resorted to shoddy workmanship, took short cuts, and used inferior materials.

It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the work was finished, the old man asked his Apprentice to meet him at the job site.

The young man was a bit anxious, fearful of the criticism and complaints from his boss.  

But it didn’t really matter, because he was moving on.

When the old man arrived, he handed the keys to his protégé.

“I am also moving on. My strength is not what it once was. I cannot do this without you. I will miss the work we've done together. This is your house, he said. It is my gift to you."

What a shock!

Had he only known it was to be his house, he would have done it all so differently.

He was disgusted with himself.

He was embarrassed and ashamed.

We cannot escape the consequences of our behavior.

While it is true that the young man could easily walk away from the house, he could not run away from his character.

We are all “carpenters” building the structure of our lives.

Remember, the life that you are building is the one that you are living.

Make everything that you do worthy of your signature, and your signature will have more worth.

I look forward to seeing you and your family in class at the Dojo.


Kyoshi Thomas Clifford


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