Redwood national park

Clarity of Purpose (part 1)

This was originally told to me as a back-slapping joke. I think it is probably better described as an amusing story with a good point.

A tourist walked into a gift shop. As he was in the Redwood National Park it was no great surprise that he found himself confronted by a display of a variety of wood carvings. There was some wonderful work, but one immediately impressed him. It was a carving of an eagle which, even though it was not the biggest item, seemed to dominate the front area of the shop. He stood staring at it for some minutes.

After a while, the shop assistant came over and told him that they were very lucky because the sculptor of the eagle happened to be passing by. She pointed towards the rear of the shop, where an older, white-haired fella was sat reading a paper, sipping a coffee.

In his enthusiasm the tourist gave it no thought, immediately went over and, with little apology, he asked the sculptor how he could possibly create such a wonderful carving of an eagle.

The older man chewed his lip, looked up, took his time, and eventually said ‘I take a big block of wood, then I get my best chisel, and I remove everything from the big block of wood which is NOT eagle’.

Steaming cup of coffee

The point? The point is that this is a great example of ‘clarity of purpose’.

You probably know very well that a quick search would soon expose us to a massive number of articles on leadership. Some of these might be presented as ordered lists. Our increasing conviction over the years is that at the top of those lists should be ‘clarity of purpose’.

Moral of the Story

When planning a business, idea or project, it is vital that you do not just look at what you need, but also what you do not need. In doing so, you will be able to further refine your plans and be better prepared.

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Richard identifies himself as a writer, photographer and educator. After two decades in education, working in ten different countries, he still enjoys teaching. He also provides his high quality photographic work for a few clients. However, he concentrates on writing and has done a huge variety of work for clients across the world, from special interest websites, to ghost writing, personal statements and policy documents for political candidates.



  • Charan Arora
    Charan Arora
    Posted at 21:02h, 31 March

    The Watkisons website is down since the last 3 days, the plugin gets automatically disabled and support tickets remain open for simple setup issues. What kind of professionalism is this ? Get some clarity of purpose.