Suppose you were teach a lesson on how we all need each other. This is the story I would want to include. I love this story!


People who are placed in leadership positions, but attempt to do it all alone, will someday come to the same conclusion as the brick layer who tried to move about five hundred pounds of bricks from the top of a four–story building to the sidewalk below. His problem was that he tried to do it alone. On an insurance claim form, he explains 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 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 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 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 one–hundred–forty–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.

“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.”


Maxwell, J. C. (1993). Developing the Leader Within You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

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