I, Bricklayer

I’m currently in the middle of several ongoing life projects at once, and it’s physically/mentally/emotionally draining. Many times it feels like I’m in a discouraging slump of facing a half-tidy half-chaotic room… way messier than before I even started cleaning.

I recently read Cal Newport’s Deep Work and came across the Medieval Quarry Worker’s Creed (possibly an allusion to the story of the three bricklayers):

“We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.”


Right now it might be best to take a step back and wonder: Why are you laying bricks? What architectural masterpiece are you building?
  • I am studying for my Math 220.1 exam because… I want to get a high grade in this subject… so that I will get a high GPA in the end and remain up to my mentor’s standards.
  • I am spending for ADAPT and studying MFE because… I want to increase my salary… so that I can earn my first million, and eventually never have to worry about money for the rest of my life.
  • I am staring at my data for hours because… I want to understand it. I want to pick up skills to become a fully-armed data scientist in the future.
  • I am devoting so much time and attention to M-sensei because… he gives the kind of love that my heart needs. I want us to overcome our dark sides together, to water our relationship so much that it blooms and bears high quality fruit in the future, regardless of the weeds that surround it.
  • I am going to do research work because… I want to immerse myself in the research process. I want to be able to spearhead my own projects in the future, and write my own papers, and get them published. I want to have high-impact works in the future that will help revolutionize something that will help improve the lives of people.
  • I am squeezing reading time out of my busy days because… I don’t want to just collect books — I want to read them all. I want to enrich myself one book at a time. I want to broaden and deepen my perspective of life.
  • I am staying away from social gatherings because… I wish to save on mental energy and time and money. I only pay attention to those who grow me or condition my spirit.
  • I am being more strict with my time because… my time deserves to be worth 5000/hr or more. I haven’t found that things yet that will make my time worth at least that much, but I will, someday. I need to arrange my schedule so that every minute is spoken for, and the wastage is minimal. That way, I will find that very thing much faster.


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