To Change The World
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
Meaning: This is an incredibly important story about what can be controlled and changed in the world around you. It’s easy to get lost in trying to change those around you, the situation or circumstances you find yourself in. However, when you get right down to it, the only thing you have the power to change and control is yourself, your actions, and the response you make to the world around you. This is a powerful thing to understand.
Source: unknown monk around 1100 AD
The Businessman and The Greek Fisherman
A businessman took a short vacation to a small Greek coastal village. Unable to sleep he walked the pier. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked and inside the boat were several large tuna.
“How long did it take you to catch them?” he asked.
“Only a little while” the Greek fisherman replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” he asked.
“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Greek fisherman said as he unloaded them into a basket.
“But …. What do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman looked up and smiled” I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife and stroll into the village, where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends”.
The businessman laughed “Sir I am an MBA and can help you. You should fish more, and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. In no time you could have several boats with the increase haul. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Then instead of selling your catch to the middleman, you could sell directly to the consumers. You could control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal village and move to the city to run your expanding empire.”
The fisherman asked “But, sir, how long will all this take?”
“15-20 years, 25 tops” said the businessman.
“But what then?” asked the fisherman.
The businessman laughed and said “That’s the best part, when the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions”.
“Millions? Then what?” asked the fisherman.
The businessman replied, “Then you could retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a nap with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”
The Two Wolves
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...
"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. The other is good he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
"Which wolf will win?"
The old chief simply replied,
"The one you feed.”
Meaning: It’s no surprise that expressing gratitude increases positive experiences. Focusing on something causes your brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) to red-flag all things related. If your default is toward negativity, you’ll always see the glass half empty. Start feeding the good wolf to not only see, but live the silver lining.
We are never alone
A boy is about to begin the youth’s rite of passage.
His father takes him into the forest, blindfolded, and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump for the entire night and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night he then becomes a man.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each boy must come into his own manhood.
The boy was terrified and could hear all kinds of noise. It seemed like beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man.
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him, keeping watch for the entire night.
We are never truly alone. Even when we do not know it, our family and friends are watching out for us, sitting on a stump beside us.
Meaning: In our darkest moments, it’s common to feel like we’re incredibly alone. Fighting battles on all sides and stumbling towards a direction we hope will get us out of it. But it’s important to remember, we’re not alone, whether we see it or not, there is help available.
The Farmer’s Fortune
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"Perhaps," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "What great luck!" the neighbors exclaimed.
"Perhaps," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"Perhaps," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
"Perhaps," said the farmer...
Meaning: We’ve all had experiences where the curse turns into a blessing; rejection turns into redirection, and the unanswered prayer is the best thing that could’ve happened to you. Life is indeed a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Yet the father isn’t delusional or apathetic, but equanimous through life’s ups and downs. And there’s a subtle expectation that fortune will follow his misfortune. It’s important to have foundational beliefs that keep you composed, to appreciate and celebrate the good, and to process trials knowing they soon shall pass.