Pile of bricks.

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The following story is one that I first read in John C. Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You.

This is what an injured brick layer wrote on his insurance form after he tried to move 500 pounds of bricks from the top of a fourth story building to the ground below:

It would have taken too long to carry the bricks down by hand, so I decided to put them in a barrel and lower them by a pulley which I had fastened to the top of the building.

After tying the rope securely at the ground level, I then went up to the top of the building.  I fastened the rope around the barrel, loaded it with the bricks and swung it out over the sidewalk and untied the rope, holding it securely to guide the barrel down slowly.

But since I weigh only one hundred and forty pounds, the five hundred pound load jerked me from the ground so fast that I didn’t have time to think of letting go of the rope.  And as I passed between the second and third floors, I met the barrel coming down.  This accounts for the bruises and lacerations on my upper body.

I held tightly to the rope until I reached the top, where my hand became jammed in the pulley.  This accounts for my broken thumb.

At the same time however, the barrel hit the sidewalk with a bang and the bottom fell out.  With the weight of the bricks gone, the barrel weighed only about forty pounds.  Thus my 140 pound body began a swift descent, and I met the empty barrel coming up.  This accounts for my broken ankle.

Slowed only slightly, I continued the descent and landed on the pile of bricks.  This accounts for my sprained back and broken collar-bone.

At this point, I lost my presence of mind completely and let go of the rope and the empty barrel came crashing down on me.  This accounts for my head injuries.

The last question on the form says, “What would you do differently if the same situation arose again?”

The brick layer simply wrote, “Please be advised that I am finished trying to do the job alone.”

We are created to be social beings and to be successful in any meaningful venture we require the assistance of others.

The bigger the task, the greater the requirement that we have others around us utilising their unique strengths, taking some of the load and providing encouragement along the way.

Whatever you do, don’t try to do it alone.

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