|The Obstacle in our Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the kirig's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
Frog in a Milk-Pail
A frog was hopping around a farmyard, when it decided to investigate the barn. Being somewhat careless, and maybe a little too curious, he ended up falling into a pail half-filled with fresh milk. As he swam about attempting to reach the top of the pail, he found that the sides of the pail were too high and steep to reach. He tried to stretch his back legs to push off the bottom of the pail but found it too deep. But this frog was determined not to give up, and he continued to struggle. He kicked and squirmed and kicked and squirmed, until at last, all his churning about in the milk had turned the milk into a big hunk of butter. The butter was now solid enough for him to climb onto and get out of the pail! "Never Give Up!"
Who Is The Rich Man?
One day a wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country so that the son could see how the poor lived. They spent a day and a night at the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "Very good, Dad!" "Did you see how poor people can be?" "Yeah!" "And what did you learn?" The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the house; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard; they have the whole horizon." When the little boy was finished, the father was speechless. His son then added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!"
A young Salesperson was disappointed. He had lost an important sale. In discussing the matter with the Sales Manager, the young man shrugged. "I guess," he said "it just proves you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink." "Son," said the Sales Manager, "let me give you a piece of advice: your job is not to make him drink. It's to make him thirsty."
Some time ago I received a call from a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed a perfect score. The instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.I read the examination question: "SHOW HOW IT IS POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE THE HEIGHT OF A TALL BUILDING WITH THE AID OF A BAROMETER." The student had answered, "Take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to the street, and then bring it up, measuring the length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the building." The student really had a strong case for full credit since he had really answered the question completely and correctly! On the other hand, if full credit were given, it could well contribute to a high grade in his physics course and to certify competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this. I suggested that the student have another try. I gave the student six minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he had not written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said he had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one. I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on. In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read: "Take the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge of the roof. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using the formula x=0.5*a*t^^2, calculate the height of the building." At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up. He conceded, and gave the student almost full credit. While leaving my colleague's office, I recalled that the student had said that he had other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were. "Well," said the student, "there are many ways of getting the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer. For example, you could take the barometer out on a sunny day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow, and the length of the shadow of the building, and by the use of simple proportion, determine the height of the building. "Fine," I said, "and others?" "Yes," said the student, "there is a very basic measurement method you will like. In this method, you take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb the stairs, you mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks, and this will give you the height of the building in barometer units." "A very direct method." "Of course. If you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of g at the street level and at the top of the building. From the difference between the two values of g, the height of the building, in principle, can be calculated." "On this same tact, you could take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street, and then swing it as a pendulum. You could then calculate the height of the building by the period of the precession". "Finally," he concluded, "there are many other ways of solving the problem. Probably the best," he said, "is to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent's door. When the superintendent answers, you speak to him as follows: 'Mr. Superintendent, here is a fine barometer. If you will tell me the height of the building, I will give you this barometer." At this point, I asked the student if he really did not know the conventional answer to this question. He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with high school and college instructors trying to teach him how to think.
The Troubles Tree
The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stoney silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. "Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."
To Fool a Wiseman
There once was a man who was digging for gold. And he discovered a large streak of gold, deep under his town. But he said to himself, "if word gets out about this, everyone else will grab it". So he tried to devised a plan. "It's easy to fool a fool", he said, "I've done that many times, but there are many wise people in this town, how will I keep them from finding this gold?" After a while, he thought of an ingenious plan. He went across the state and purchased a large load of Iron Pyrite (fools gold). Then he then planted 1000's of pieces all over his town, in rivers, creeks, gullies, and everywhere one could imagine. Then he took the largest piece and ran down the main street screaming, "I'VE FOUND GOLD, I'VE FOUND GOLD." This caused quite a commotion in his little town, and soon dozens of people were out with picks and shovels. In a few days, 100s of pieces were found, and there was a great euphoria covering the town. But when people started taking their pieces to the town jeweler, he gave them the terrible news. "All FAKES." The people were heart broken, their euphoria turned into gloom. But the wise people of the town, who were cautious and not so quick to rush in, they got a good laugh out of it. Then the man who devised the plan, slowly started to buy up all the fake pieces, all the Picks, shovels and other mining equipment. And every once in a while a real piece of gold would surface, but people would take it to him, instead of the town jeweler. And the wise people of the town would scoff whenever a rumor came up about real gold. So he continued to mine to gold in peace, fooling both the fools and the wise men.
3 bananas in the Morning and 4 in the Afternoon.
Zhuangzi told this story to his disciples to make a point: Once a zookeeper said to his monkeys: "You'll get 3 bananas in the Morning and 4 in the afternoon." All monkeys are upset. "OK. How about 4 bananas in Morning and 3 in the afternoon?" Hearing this, the monkeys are content. One should realize that sometimes a change in phrasing does not represent a real change.
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes." The time management expert replied, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?" "No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?" One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!" "No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is, "If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all. What are the 'big rocks' in your life, time with loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question, "What are the 'big rocks' in my life?" Then, put those in your jar first.
Once, a professor went to a Zen Master. He asked him to explain the meaning of Zen. The Master quietly poured a cup of tea. The cup was full but he continued to pour. The professor could not stand this any longer, so he questioned the Master impatiently, "Why do you keep pouring when the cup is full?" "I want to point out to you," the Master said, "that you are similarly attempting to understand Zen while your mind is full. First, empty your mind of preconceptions before you attempt to understand Zen."
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please! I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," he pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop!" With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. "Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message "Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"
Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow." You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today. To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train. To realize the value of ONE-SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident. Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. Remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present!
A scientific convention was held at a lakeside resort. After the first day?s proceedings, a mathematician, a physicist, an astronomer and a molecular biologist hired a boatman to row them around on the lake. As they sat in the boat, they discussed string theory, bubble universes, the Gaea Hypothesis and other abstruse topics. The biologist noticed the boatman looking at them from the corner of his eyes. He asked him, ?What do you think of these ideas?? The boatman replied, ?I didn?t understand any of it.? The astronomer asked him how far he had studied. He told them he couldn?t even read. ?I hate to say it,? said the physicist, ?but you seem to have wasted a good part of your life.? The boatman remained silent. By now they were out in the middle of the lake, far from shore. A sudden storm whipped up. The waves started churning and heaving. All of a sudden, the boat flipped over. The boatman started swimming for shore. The scientists cried out, ?Help! We can?t swim!? The boatman called back, ?I hate to say it, but you seem to have wasted your whole lives.?
Most Important Lesson
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count towards our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
The Broken Window Fallacy
This parable describes a shopkeeper whose window is broken by a little boy. Everyone sympathizes with the man whose window was broken, but pretty soon they start to suggest that the broken window makes work for the glazier, who will then buy bread, benefitting the baker, who will then buy shoes, benefitting the cobbler, etc. Finally, the onlookers conclude that the little boy was not guilty of vandalism; instead he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town The fallacy of the onlookers' argument is that they considered the positive benefits of purchasing a new window, but they ignored the hidden costs to the shopkeeper and others. He was forced to spend his money on a new window, and therefore could not have spent it on something else. Perhaps he was going to buy bread, benefitting the baker, who would then have bought shoes, etc., but instead he was forced to buy a window. Instead of a window and bread, he had only a window. Or perhaps he would have bought a new shirt, benefitting the tailor; in that case the glazier's gain was the tailor's loss, and again the shopkeeper has only a window instead of a window and a shirt. The child did not bring any net benefit to the town. Instead, he made the town poorer by the value of one window.
Fate Is in Your Own Hands
Once upon a time, there was a general who was leading his army into battle against an enemy ten times the size of his own. Along the way to the battle field, the troops stopped by a small temple to pray for victory. The general held up a coin and told his troops, "I am going to implore the gods to help us crush our enemy. If this coin lands with the heads on top, we'll win. If it's tails, we'll lose. Our fate is in the hands of the gods. Let's pray wholeheartedly." After a short prayer, the general tossed the coin. It landed with the heads on top. The troops were overjoyed and went into the battle with high siprit. Just as predicted, the smaller army won the battle. The soldiers were exalted, "It's good to have the gods on our side! No one can change what they have determined." "Really?" The general show them the coin--both sides of it were heads.
Happiness is an attitude.
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. "I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. "Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room .... just wait." "That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it ... It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away ... just for this time in my life."
Question: There were once three frogs on a log and on of them made a decision to jump in. How many were left? Answer: There are still three frogs on a log, he only made a decision, he took no action!
A traveling preacher finds himself in a tremendous rainstorm. Within a few hours the hotel he is staying in becomes flooded. As the water rises, the preacher climbs to the roof and starts praying. "Lord, save me so I can continue on my mission of preaching your gospel." Just then, a coast guard rescue party floats by in a rowboat. "Let's go mister. Into the boat." "I'll stay here," says the preacher, "The Lord will save me." An hour later a second boat reaches the scene and the water is close to the roof of the hotel. "Sir, you better get in. the water is still rising." "No thanks. The Lord will be my salvation." Toward evening, the hotel is almost completely under water and the preacher is clinging to the satellite dish on the roof. A helicopter is spotted and on a loudspeaker is heard "Sir, grab on to the line and we will pull you up. This is your last chance. "I'm all right," says the preacher, as he looks heavenward. "I know the Lord will provide sanctuary." As the boat departs, the satellite dish is hit by lightning and the preacher is killed. When he arrived at the Pearly Gates he was furious. "What happened, " he shouts. "I thought the Lord would provide!" Moments later a thunderous voice is heard. "Gimmie a break pal. I sent you 2 boats and a chopper"
Donkey in the well
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old, that the well needed to be covered anyway and that it just wasn't worth retrieving the donkey. So he invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quietened down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.
The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy a cross to bear." The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear it's weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then open another door and pick any cross you wish." The man was filled with relief. "Thank you, Lord," he sighed, and did as he was told. As he looked around the room he saw many different crosses; some so large the tops were not visible. Then he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. "I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, "My son, that's the cross you brought in."
The Ripple Effect
The Master was walking through the fields one day when a young man, a troubled look upon his face, approached him. "On such a beautiful day, it must be difficult to stay so serious," the Master said. "Is it? I hadn't noticed," the young man said, turning to look around and notice his surroundings. His eyes scanned the landscape, but nothing seemed to register; his mind elsewhere. Watching intently, the Master continued to walk. "Join me if you like." The Master walked to the edge of a still pond, framed by sycamore trees, their leaves golden orange and about to fall. "Please sit down," the Master invited, patting the ground next to him. Looking carefully before sitting, the young man brushed the ground to clear a space for himself. "Now, find a small stone, please," the Master instructed. "What?" "A stone. Please find a small stone and throw it in the pond." Searching around him, the young man grabbed a pebble and threw it as far as he could. "Tell me what you see," the Master instructed. Straining his eyes to not miss a single detail, the man looked at the water's surface. "I see ripples." "Where did the ripples come from?" "From the pebble I threw in the pond, Master." "Please reach your hand into the water and stop the ripples," the Master asked. Not understanding, the young man stuck his hand in the water as a ripple neared, only to cause more ripples. The young man was now completely baffled. Where was this going? Had he made a mistake in seeking out the Master? After all he was not a student, perhaps he could not be helped? Puzzled, the young man waited. "Were you able to stop the ripples with your hands?" the Master asked. "No, of course not." "Could you have stopped the ripples, then?" "No, Master. I told you I only caused more ripples." "What if you had stopped the pebble from entering the water to begin with?" The Master smiled such a beautiful smile; the young man could not be upset. "Next time you are unhappy with your life, catch the stone before it hits the water. Do not spend time trying to undo what you have done. Rather, change what you are going to do before you do it." The Master looked kindly upon the young man. "But Master, how will I know what I am going to do before I do it?" "Take the responsibility for living your own life. If you're working with a doctor to treat an illness, then ask the doctor to help you understand what caused the illness. Do not just treat the ripples. Keep asking questions." The young man stopped, his mind reeling. "But I came to you to ask you for answers. Are you saying that I know the answers?" "You may not know the answers right now, but if you ask the right questions, then you shall discover the answers." "But what are the right questions, Master?" "There are no wrong questions, only unasked ones. We must ask, for without asking, we cannot receive answers. But it is your responsibility to ask. No one else can do that for you."
Make a Difference
Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out,"Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean." "I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?" "The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die." "But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!" The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."
A group of people are standing at a river bank and suddenly hear the cries of a baby. Shocked, they see an infant floating--drowning--in the water. One person immediately dives in to rescue the child. But as this is going on, yet another baby comes floating down the river, and then another! People continue to jump in to save the babies and then see that one person has started to walk away from the group still on shore. Accusingly they shout, "where are you going?" The response: "I'm going upstream to stop whoever's throwing babies into the river
Creation - A Sioux Indian Story
The Creator gathered all of Creation and said, "I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality." The eagle said, "Give it to me, I will take it to the moon." The Creator said, "No. One day they will go there and find it." The salmon said, "I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean." "No. They will go there too." The buffalo said, "I will bury it on the Great Plains." The Creator said, "They will cut into the skin of the Earth and find it even there." Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, "Put it inside of them." And the Creator said, "It is done."
A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco. "Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring home with me." "Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him." "There's something you should know," the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mind and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us." "I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live." "No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us." "Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own." At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg. The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are.
The Water Bearer
A water bearer had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot always arrived only half full. For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, fulfilled in the design for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was unable to accomplish what it had been made to do. After two years of enduring this bitter shame, the pot spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself and I apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and was cheered somewhat. But at the end of the trail, it still felt the old shame because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you not notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, and not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we've walked back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." Each of us has flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow Him, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you, too, can bring something beautiful to the Father.
A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On that day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance.
A man who lost his axe suspected his neighbour's son of stealing it. To him, as he observed the boy, the way the lad walked, the expression on his face, the manner of his speech - in fact everything about his appearance and behaviour betrayed that he had stolen the axe. Not long afterwards the man found his axe while digging in his cellar. When he saw his neighbour's son again, nothing about the boy's behaviour nor appearance seemed to suggest that he had stolen the axe.
The Final Exam
A professor stood before his class of 20 senior organic biology students, about to hand out the final exam. "I want to say that it's been a pleasure teaching you this semester. I know you've all worked extremely hard and many of you are off to medical school after summer. So that no one gets their GP messed up because they might have been celebrating a bit too much this week, anyone who would like to opt out of the final exam today will receive a "B" for the course." There was much rejoicing amongst the class as students got up, passed by the professor to thank him and sign out on his offer. As the last taker left the room, the professor looked out over the handful of remaining students and asked, "Any one else? This is your last chance." One final student rose up and took the offer. The professor closed the door and took attendance of those students remaining. "I'm glad to see you believe in yourself." he said. "You all have A's."
Rabbit's Ph.D. Thesis
Scene It's a fine sunny day in the forest, and a rabbit is sitting outside his burrow, tippy-tapping on his typewriter. Along comes a fox, out for a walk. Fox "What are you working on?" Rabbit "My thesis." Fox "Hmmm. What's it about?" Rabbit "Oh, I'm writing about how rabbits eat foxes." (incredulous pause) Fox "That's ridiculous! Any fool knows that rabbits don't eat foxes." Rabbit "Sure they do, and I can prove it. Come with me." They both disappear into the rabbit's burrow. After a few minutes, the rabbit returns, alone, to his typewriter and resumes typing. Soon, a wolf comes along and stops to watch the hardworking rabbit. Wolf "What's that you're writing?" Rabbit "I'm doing a thesis on how rabbits eat wolves." (loud guffaws) Wolf "You don't expect to get such rubbish published, do you?" Rabbit "No problem. Do you want to see why?" The rabbit and the wolf go into the burrow, and again the rabbit returns by himself, after a few minutes, and goes back to typing. Scene: inside the rabbit's burrow. In one corner, there is a pile of fox bones. In another corner, a pile of wolf bones. On the other side of the room, a huge lion is belching and picking his teeth. (The End) Moral It doesn't matter what you choose for a thesis subject. It doesn't matter what you use for data. What does matter is who you have for a thesis advisor.
A Parable of Two Frogs
A group of frogs were hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, the rest of the dismayed group agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn't be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping as hard as they could, and after several hours of desperate effort were quite weary. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellows. Spent and disheartened, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died as the others looked on in helpless grief. The other frog continued to jump with every ounce of energy he had, although his body was wracked with pain and he was completely exhausted. His companions began anew, yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and - wonder of wonders! finally leapt so high that he sprang from the pit. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his miraculous freedom and then gathering around him asked, "Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?" Reading their lips, the astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and that when he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds. This simple story contains a powerful lesson. Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help them make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds; they may be the weapons that destroy someone's desire to continue trying - or even their life. Your destructive, careless word can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them.
The Mouse, the Frog, and the Hawk
A Mouse who always lived on the land, by an unlucky chance, formed an intimate acquaintance with a Frog, who lived, for the most part, in the water. One day, the Frog was intent on mischief. He tied the foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined together, the Frog led his friend the Mouse to the meadow where they usually searched for food. After this, he gradually led him towards the pond in which he lived, until reaching the banks of the water, he suddenly jumped in, dragging the Mouse with him. The Frog enjoyed the water amazingly, and swam croaking about, as if he had done a good deed. The unhappy Mouse was soon sputtered and drowned in the water, and his poor dead body floating about on the surface. A Hawk observed the foating Mouse from the sky, and dove down and grabbed it with his talons, carrying it back to his nest. The Frog, being still fastened to the leg of the Mouse, was also carried off a prisoner, and was eaten by the Hawk. "Choose your allies carefully"
The Town Up Ahead
Once, a man pulled up into a gas station in the country, and asked the gas station attendant, "What are the people like in the next town up ahead?" The attendant said, "What were the people like in the town you just came from?" "Awful people," the man responded. "Rude, cold, hostile, abrupt, unfriendly. They wouldn't give me the time of day." "Well," said the attendant, "I'm sorry to say it, but you're going to find exactly the same sort of people in the next town up ahead." A bit later, another driver pulled in, heading in the same direction as the first. "What are the people like in the next town up ahead?" the second man asked. The attendant said, "What were the people like in the town you just came from?" "Wonderful people," the second man responded. "Friendly, warm, helpful, patient, kind. They went out of their way to help a stranger." "Well," said the attendant, "I'm happy to tell you that you're going to find exactly the same kind of people in the next town up ahead."
Four Seasons of a Tree
There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment. The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up. If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.
The Story of the Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.
Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.
The Obstacle in Our Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the kirig's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
Peace of Mind
Once Buddha was walking from town to town with his followers. This was in the initial days. They happened to pass a lake and Buddha told one of his disciples, “I am thirsty. Get me some water from that lake.”
The disciple walked up to the lake and noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and he also saw a bullock cart crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple returned to tell Buddha “The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”
After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him the water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own and you got clear water. Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen effortlessly.”
Buddha says having ‘peace of mind is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment.
An Office Boy
A jobless man applied for the position of "office boy" at a very big company.
The employer interviewed him, then a test: clean the floor.
“You are hired.” – the employer said. ”Give me your email address, and I’ll send you the application to fill, as well as when you will start.”
The man replied, “I don’t have a computer, neither an email.”
“I’m sorry,” said the employer, “if you don’t have an email , you cannot have the job.”
The man left with no hope. He didn’t know what to do, with only $10 USD in his pocket.
He then decided to go to the supermarket, bought a 10 kg tomato crate, then sold the tomatoes door to door. In less than two hours, he succeeded and doubled his capital. He repeated the operation 3 times and returned home with $60 USD. The man realized that he could survive by this way, and started to go everyday earlier, and returned late. Thus, his money doubled or tripled everyday. Shortly later, he bought a cart, then a truck, and then he had his own fleet of delivery vehicles.
Five years later, the man’s company was one of the biggest food retailers. He started to plan his family’s future, and decided to have a life insurance. He called an insurance broker and chose a protection plan. When the conversation was concluded, the broker asked him his email. The man replied: “I don’t have an email.”
The broker replied curiously, “You don’t have an email, and yet have succeeded to build an empire. Do you imagine what position you could have if you had an email?”
The man paused for a while, and replied: “An office boy!”
Don’t be discouraged if something is not in your favor today. Better opportunities are always waiting ahead.
Triple Filter Test
Socrates was the great philosopher in ancient Greece and was held in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”
“Hold on a minute”, Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“That’s right”, Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.
The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,”,the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and …” “All right”, said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.
Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” “No, on the contrary.” “So”, Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.
You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”
“Well”, concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”