If You Were Ben Johnson
A boy was once so ugly and clothed so shabbily that his schoolmates continually tormented him. He turned to reading in order to escape their taunts. At 18 he took a job as a bricklayer. He decided, however, that he did not want to be a bricklayer, but a playwright. Ben Johnson, one of the most brilliant playwrights in England’s history, forged a new path in his life and was eventually honoured by Queen Elizabeth I and decorated by King James. It is not how or where you started, but how and where you finished. Some of us make unnecessary and selfish mistakes and blame it on others or ill luck. I remember the story of a bricklayer who tried to move 500lbs of brick from the top of a four-storey building to the side below. His problem was that he tried to do it alone. On an insurance claim form he explained what happened: “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 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 for the descent. “Then I went down to the sidewalk and untied the rope, holding it securely to guide the barrel down slowly. But, since I weigh only 140 pounds, the 500-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 40 pounds. Thus, my one 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 collarbone. 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. As for the last question on the form, ‘what would you do if the same situation arose again?’ please be advised that I am finished trying to do the job alone.” Some people do not become who they are meant to be because they want to take all the credit alone. Yes, you can come up with the idea, but you still need others to make it work. Remember, two good heads are better than one. The key is in your hands. Use it! Now that you know…
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