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Story Friday – Guarding the Concrete Slab

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Story Friday – Guarding the Concrete Slab

This story reminds me of the Easter Ham. The message is the same and it is a very good one.


By Sandras Phiri
There was an army barracks that had on its duty roster 4 soldiers to guard at all times a concrete slab in front of the barracks. The soldiers changed shifts guarding the slabs for many years. Different commanders came and went and the tradition continued.

After many years, a new commander was assigned to the barracks. Amongst the things he did was asking why things were done the way they were. When he asked why soldiers were guarding the slab, he was told, “We’ve always done it this way. It’s our tradition. Our former commanders instructed us to do that.”

The commander was adamant on finding out why. He went to the archives to look for answers and he came across a document that had the explanation. The document was very old.  It had instructions written by one of the retired commanders who had even passed away.
The new commander learnt that over 80 years ago, the barracks wanted to build a platform where events could be performed. When the concrete slab was laid, wild animals walked over it at night before the slab would dry. The soldiers would fix it the next morning but when evening came the same thing would happen. So the commander ordered that 4 soldiers should guard the concrete slab for 3 weeks to allow it to dry. The following week the commander was transferred to another post and a new commander was brought in. The new commander found the routine and enforced it and every commander that came did the same. Eighty years later the barracks continued guarding a concrete slab.

What beliefs, attitudes, traditions have you carried on that were relevant to certain people or a certain time and they are still being carried out by you? Is your opinion about yourself, people of a different race, the opposite sex, certain business opportunities, new products etc obsolete? Question the status quo.


Sandras Phiri is a Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Entrepreneur. He is the CEO and co-founder of the Sandras and Lelemba Institute (SLI) that is dedicated to research, education and supporting individuals, organizations and communities in their pursuit of growth. He lives in Cape Town with his wife and 2 sons. He blogs about inspiration, relationships and personal development on


What are you doing in your life because that’s the way it’s always been done?

Nicole Bandes

Nicole has scaled her own personal mountain to climb out of ordinary. For over 20 years, Nicole Bandes has studied the most effective methods to increase happiness and success in her own life and in business. She has gone on to helped thousands of people in their own personal journeys to reach their goals. Contact Nicole if you are ready to stop being ordinary and have a guided tour to reach your summit of success.

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2 Comments so far:

  1. Shawn says:

    what a lesson. Don’t be afraid to ask why!

  2. Nicole Bandes says:

    Thanks Shawn!

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