Clock and Compass

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Project by Deaser posted 12-19-2012 06:23 PM 1303 views 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently completed 16 of these Clock and Compass pieces for some of my co-workers as Christmas gifts. It is my own design. I used Soft Maple, with a coat of BLO followed by a few coats of shellac. This project was my first experience with dowel joinery, which went well. Overall size is 4.5”Lx4.5”Wx5.5”H. The clock and compass inserts came from Klockit. My inspiration came from reading “First Things First” By Stephen R. Covey. Below is an excerpt from that book which I printed, laminated, and presented with the gifts:

The Clock and the Compass
Our struggle to put first things first can be characterized by the constant contrast between two powerful tools that direct us: the clock and the compass. The clock represents our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, activities…what we do with, and how we manage our time. The compass represents our vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, direction…what we feel is important and how we lead our lives.
The struggle comes when we sense a gap between the clock and the compass…when what we do doesn’t contribute to what is most important in our lives.
For some of us, the pain of the gap is intense. We can’t seem to walk our talk. We feel trapped, controlled by other people or situations. We’re always responding to crises. We’re constantly caught up in the “thick of thin things”…putting out fires and never making time to do what we know would make a difference. We feel as though our lives are being lived for us.
For others of us, the pain is vague discomfort. We just can’t get what we feel we should do, what we want to do, and we actually do all together. We’re caught in dilemmas. We feel so guilty over what we’re not doing, that we can’t enjoy what we do.
Some of us feel empty. We’ve defined happiness solely in terms of professional or financial achievement, and we find that our “success” did not bring us the satisfaction we thought it would. We’ve painstakingly climbed the “ladder of success” rung by rung…the diploma, the late nights, the promotions…only to discover as we reached the top rung that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. Absorbed in the ascent, we’ve left a trail of shattered relationships or missed moments of deep, rich living in the wake of the intense, over-focused effort. In our race up the rungs, we simply did not take the time to do what really mattered most.
Others of us feel disoriented or confused. We have no real sense of what “first things” are. We move from one activity to another on automatic. Life is mechanical. Once in a while, we wonder if there is any meaning in our doing.
Some of us know we’re out of balance, but don’t have confidence in other alternatives. Or we feel the cost of change is too high. Or we’re afraid to try. It’s easier to just live with the imbalance.

Wake Up Calls
We may be brought to an awareness of this gap in a dramatic way. A loved one dies. Suddenly she’s gone and we see the stark reality of what could have been, but wasn’t, because we were too busy climbing the “ladder of success” to cherish and nurture a deeply satisfying relationship.
We may find out that our teenage son is on drugs. Pictures flood our minds…times we could have spent through the years doing things together, sharing, building the relationship…but didn’t because we were too busy earning a living, making the right connections, or simply reading the newspaper.
The company’s downsizing and our job’s on the line. Or our doctor tells us we have just a few months to live. Or our marriage is threatened by divorce. Some crisis brings us to an awareness that what we’re doing with our time and what we feel is deeply important don’t match.
In the absence of such “wake-up calls,” many of us never really confront the critical issues of life. Instead of looking for deep chronic causes, we look for quick-fix Band-Aids and aspirin to treat the acute pain. Fortified by temporary relief, we get busier and busier doing “good” things and never even stop to ask if what we’re doing really matters most.

…take a moment to consider your answers to the following questions:

What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your personal life?

What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your professional or work life?

If you know these things would make such a significant difference, why are you not doing them now?

-- Steve, Pennsylvania

3 comments so far

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2416 days

#1 posted 12-19-2012 06:28 PM

Beautifully made !!!

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2414 days

#2 posted 12-19-2012 08:17 PM


-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Ken90712's profile


17616 posts in 3429 days

#3 posted 12-19-2012 08:22 PM

Well done, great gifts.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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