Once there was an elderly carpenter who was ready to retire. He approached his boss and expressed this to him, naturally much to the dismay of his boss. He told his boss of his plans to leave and live a more leisurely life with his wife. He would miss the paycheque he admitted but then again at this stage of his life other things were more important.
The contractor was sorry to see such a good and dedicated worker go but he knew there was no way he could dissuade the carpenter. The carpenter was resolute in his decision and this was final. Accepting this fact, he ordered the carpenter with one more task of building just one more house for him as a personal favour.
The carpenter agreed despite reluctantly, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. Right from the start his attitude towards the project was one of disdain and contempt. As a result of this negative attitude he resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate and sad way to end a dedicated career.
When the carpenter finally completed the project and stood before the last house that he was to ever build in his life, the contractor came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," the contractor said. "It is my gift to you."
The carpenter was shocked! But more than shock was dismay and disappointment in himself. What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. He would have definitely adopted a totally positive attitude and given his best in building the house had he known that the house was going to be his.
Our lives are not very different from the above story. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting far less than our best into the building. Then with great and unimaginable shock we face the reality that we have to live in the house we have built. By the time we realise this then it’s too late to turn back and start all over again for our lives are almost over now. The energy stamina and zeal and enthusiasm we possessed way back then is all gone with age. And as hard as we may try to rebuild our lives, this time to perfection, it will be almost impossible. The only option we would have after this regret is the option of doing damage control. The greatest tragedy of it all would be that the damage we will be controlling will be the damage made by our own hands.
We are the carpenters and builders of our lives. Each day we are given a chance to hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall in the right places. Our attitudes, the choices and the effort we put in today will build our "house" for tomorrow...
Let it not be that we remain oblivious of the fact that our efforts are for ourselves and will ultimately determine the quality of our lives tomorrow.

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