September is upon us, and with the fall season we have the return to our lodges for many of the brethren across the province. With the notable exception of those who will no doubt be hard at work with Harvest.
In the last two Musings I discussed the need to “Start with Why” and what I believe to be the purpose of Freemasonry. I then discussed the importance of using your time wisely. With each of these previous musings I referenced a book which I have read in the past and which I found to have particular significance in relation to certain Masonic topics. You may notice a theme of books being highlighted in each musing.
Following the topics of “Start with Why” and “Properly investing your time”. You may guess the next topic in the series to discuss is the topic of “Labour”. Our work in the first degree discusses that labour is the lot of man. This is of particular importance when we think back to the idea of investing some of our time each day towards personal growth, with the ultimate goal in mind of being able to render ourselves more serviceable to our fellow man.
If a person only invests in knowledge and does not invest any time into the application of that knowledge, they have accomplished little. We cannot simply “learn to know”, we must “learn to grow”.
The book I will highlight this month which struck a particular chord with me is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. In Atomic Habits, the author discusses that the path to accomplishing one’s goals is by way of small, consistent improvements. The author discusses the idea of simply trying to be 1% better at the desired goal each day. The author goes so far as to state that by working towards these minor successes, one will be able to be 37 times better in whatever area they have focused on after one year of time. Conversely, the opposite can occur if you are allowing yourself to invest your time on frivolous things.
The author describes how small consistent action, or having an established system of taking action, is the true path to achieving any desired accomplishment. Specifically, Mr. Clear discusses the idea “You do not rise to the level of your goals, but rather, you fall to the level of your systems!”
In Freemasonry, this can easily be applied to our commitment to our lectures, our floor work and even participation within our lodges, as well as at our special events. The author describes that any goals should be Obvious, Attractive, Easy and provide Satisfaction, once they have been completed. I want to applaud the Masons and the Lodges who are doing just that.
The ready use of all technologies available to them to promote their meetings and events to the membership at large. There are brethren, lodges and districts, who use social media, Email, Phone Trees, and word of mouth to ensure their events are well attended. The date, time and purpose of their events are Obvious.
These same brethren typically have very fun, beautiful, and engaging events. The type of events that people want to go to, and which people talk about for weeks or months afterwards. These events are indeed Attractive.
Furthermore, these events are well planned, with enough Masons to volunteer for the various roles: providing transportation to our aged brethren and our Special Ladies, ensuring that the guests are well taken care of, and all the events of the evening are Easy.
The result is a Satisfying Event wherein the brethren involved are rewarded with the knowledge that their efforts have been well received and warmly regarded.
Masonry offers us the ability to find an area in our lives which we wish to improve, and it gives us the tools to work at that improvement. Thank you to all the brethren who use the tools which Masonry provides to work towards improvement of themselves, their homes and the lodges! Continue the Work!
I will end with another quote from another man who is an author, teacher, and coach: Jim Kwik.
“Knowledge is power: You hear it all the time, but knowledge is not power. It's only potential power. It only becomes power when we apply it and use it.
Somebody who reads a book and doesn't apply it, they're at no advantage over someone who's illiterate.
None of it works unless YOU work. We have to do our part. If knowing is half the battle, action is the second half of the battle.”
MW Bro. Jonas Cossette, Grand Master, 2023-24