His disciples praised him, “It is incredible that you made a wooden kite that can fly!”
“It took me three years to make that wooden kite.” Mo Zi said. “However, it could only fly for a day before it broke down. How can one be proud of that? Take the cart maker. He used some wood and in a day can make a cart that can carry heavy loads for long distances for long time periods: that is real skill!”
Mo Zi skillfully crafted a kite out of wood but was dissatisfied because ultimately its usefulness was not commensurate with the labor he had to put into fabricating it. He was a remarkably humble man.
By nature, Mo Zi was a frugal man who was very practical. He did not indulge in luxuries and was ardent about benefitting others.
Nevertheless, great things are not always useful: greatness also resides in its essence or nature. The wooden kite, although it had limited usefulness it was the result of the superior skills of its maker. That is laudable.
It is important to remember that truly wonderful things have greatness both in their usefulness as well as in their substance. Just like the superior man is virtuous (substance or nature) and helpful to others (use).