Epilogue: Magnum OPUS…

…in Latin literally translates “great work”.

Going full circle to where we started, Chateaubriand gave us a picture of what it looks like to be a master in the art of living where there is no sharp distinction between labor and leisure. While Corporate America may scoff at the “Father of the Romantic Era” as a pipe-dreamer, at BTL we believe embracing his vision — or at least trusting it on faith — is a prerequisite for beginning and sustaining the Builder’s Journey.

We are designed to belong & become, to Dream & Do. Sadly, most humans stop dreaming by the age of 30 and begin to die a slow death — as Howard Hendricks puts it, most people die at 30 and are buried at 80.

The melody line of the BBTL Epilogue is to trust the CORE, OPUS, PoP framework as the highway to the Magnum OPUS of your Dream State. This means embracing the dissonance of daring to get more comfortable being uncomfortable with your Current State, and believing becoming extra ordinary isn’t a fairy tale.

One of our favorite BTL movies is Mr. Holland’s Opus. I vividly remember Larry introducing me to the clarinet scene, where we watched a frustrated symphony writer who, laboring as a high school music teacher to pay the bills, has an awakening as he builds into a frustrated oboe player named Miss Lang who just wants to be good at something. His MOT is he has exactly the student he deserves. As Hendricks put it, “you teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are — teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.” When Mr. Holland comes to his senses, he says “you know what we’ve been doing wrong, Miss Lang? We’ve been playing notes on a page. There’s more to music than notes on the page, it comes from the heart.” He then challenges her to play her etude, this time from memory, because it’s already inside her and she just doesn’t trust it. The breakthrough happens when he asks her what she loves most about herself and why, to which she responds “my hair, because her father says it reminds him of the sunset.” Mr. Holland tells her to close her eyes and play the sunset, and together they transform from frustration to flow. Twenty-five years later, Governor Lang returns to thank a retiring Mr. Holland, whose Magnum Opus was not the riches and fame he imagined from writing notes on a page, but the hundreds of other applauding students he inspired to become his living symphony.

Trust the process. Take it in chunks, and keep working even when progress is hard to see. And be reminded by a friend of mine, 2013 Crossfit Champion Graham Holmberg, the fruit is born in the valleys when no one is watching.

OPUS focus. Chunk it out.

Done so.

4 thoughts on “Epilogue: Magnum OPUS…

  1. I can see Larry smiling as he showed me the same clip. Play the sunset and you’ll never be the same. Great start to 2022 by the Gu. God bless you all. I pray you play the sunset as we watch the sun rise on another new year. Amen…

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Beautiful!!! Thanks John. Wishing you another happy year of being built to lead.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. For 20 years I sought hard labor, rejecting all leisure. Then, achieving my wealth, I rejected all labor and embraced leisure. All according to my perfect plans.

    But then the wars began. Living in leisure, void of labor, I was attacked. First by powerful enemies from the outside. And then by an even greater enemy on the inside. 14 years of unending assaults, pain, suffering.

    And now I finally understand. 2021 saw the tide turn. As I enter 2022, I finally have the leisure to choose my labor. The joy to choose my pain. The thrill of choosing my suffering. I am discovering what Miles Levin tried so hard to teach me years ago… “Keep fighting. Stop struggling.”

    1. Amazing learning, Kyle. Thanks for sharing, your words always sear me. “Keep fighting. Stop struggling.” has become a foundational part of my CORE.

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