There was a man taking a morning wa lk at or the beach. He saw that along with the morning tide came hundreds of starfish and when the tide receded, they were left behind and with the morning sun rays, they would die. The tide was fresh and the starfish were alive. The man took a few steps, picked one and threw it into the water. He did that repeatedly. Right behind him there was another person who couldn’t understand what this man was doing. He caught up with him and asked, “What are you doing? There are hundreds of starfish. How many can you help? What difference does it make?” This man did not reply, took two more steps, picked up another one, threw it into the water, and said, “It makes a difference to this one.”
About a hundred years ago, a man looked at the morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, read his name in the obituary column. The news papers had reported the death of the wrong person by mistake. His first response was shock. Am I here or there? When he regained his composure, his second thought was to find out what people had said about him. The obituary read, “Dynamite King Dies.” And also “He was the merchant of death.” This man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question, “Is this how I am going to be remembered?” He got in touch with his feelings and decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered. From that day on, he started working toward peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize.
Just as Alfred Nobel got in touch with his feelings and redefined his values, we should step back and do the same.
We all know the story of the greedy king named Midas. He had a lot of gold and the more he had the more he wanted. He stored all the gold in his vaults and used to spend time every day counting it.
One day while he was counting a stranger came from nowhere and said he would grant him a wish. The king was delighted and said, “I would like everything I touch to turn to gold.” The stranger asked the king, Are you sure?” The king replied, “Yes.” So the stranger said, “Starting tomorrow morning with the sun rays you will get the golden touch.” The king thought he must be dreaming, this couldn’t be true. But the next day when he woke up, he touched the bed, his clothes, and everything turned to gold. He looked out of the window and saw his daughter playing in the garden. He decided to give her a surprise and thought she would be happy. But before he went to the garden he decided to read a book. The moment he touched it, it turned into gold and he couldn’t read it. Then he sat to have breakfast and the moment he touched the fruit and the glass of water, they turned to gold. He was getting hungry and he said to himself, “I can’t eat and drink gold.” Just about that time his daughter came running and he hugged her and she turned into a gold statue. There were no more smiles left.
The king bowed his head and started crying. The stranger who gave the wish came again and asked the king if he was happy with his golden touch. The king said he was the most miserable man. The stranger asked, “What would you rather have, your food and loving daughter or lumps of gold and her golden statue?” The king cried and asked for forgiveness. He said, “I will give up all my gold. Please give me my daughter back because without her I have lost everything wo rth having.” The stranger said to the king, “You have become wiser than before” and he reversed the spell. He got his daughter back in his arms and the king learned a lesson that he never forget for the rest of his life.
What is the moral of the story?
1. Distorted values lead to tragedy.
2. Sometimes getting what you want may be a bigger tragedy than not getting what you want.
3. Unlike the game of soccer where players can be substituted, the game of life allows no substitutions or replays. We may not get a second chance to reverse our tragedies, as the king did.
A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.” Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.
Life is hard by the yard,
but by the inch,
it’s a cinch.
On the best sunny day, the most powerful magnifying glass will not light paper if you keep moving the glass. But if you focus and hold it, the paper will light up. That is the power of concentration.
A man was traveling and stopped at an intersection. He asked an elderly man, “Where does this road take me?” The elderly person asked, “Where do you want to go?” The man replied, “I don’t know.” The elderly person said, “Then take any road. What difference does it make?”
How true. When we don’t know where we are going, any road will take us there.
Suppose you have all the football eleven players, enthusiastically ready to play the game, all charged up, and then someone took the goal post away. What would happen to the game? There is nothing left. How do you keep score? How do you know you have arrived?
Enthusiasm without direction is like wildfire and leads to frustration. Goals give a sense of direction. Would you sit in a train or a plane without knowing where it was going? The obvious answer is no. Then why do people go through life without having any goals?
One day, a ten-year-old boy went to an ice cream shop, sat at a table and asked the waitress, “How much is an ice-cream cone?” She said, “seventy-five cents.” The boy started counting the coins he had in his hand. Then he asked how much a small cup of ice-cream was. The waitress impatiently replied, “sixty five cents.” The boy said, “I will have the small ice-cream cup.” He had his ice-cream, paid the bill and left. When the waitress came to pick up the empty plate, she was touched. Underneath were ten cent coins as tip.
The little boy had consideration for the waitress before he ordered his ice-crearn. He showed sensitivity and caring. He thought of others before himself. If we all thought like the little boy, we would have a great place to live. Show consideration, courtesy, and politeness. Thoughtfulness shows a caring attitude.
There is a legend about a wise man who was sitting outside his village. A traveler came up and asked him, “What kind of people live in this village, because I am looking to move from my present one?” The wise man asked, “What kind of people live where you want to move from?” The man said, “They are mean, cruel, rude.” The wise man replied, “The same kind of people live in this village too.” After some time another traveler came by and asked the same question and the wise man asked him, “What kind of people live where you want to move from?” And the traveler replied, “The people are very kind, courteous, polite and good.” The wise man said, “You will find the same kind of people here too.”
What is the moral of the story?
Generally we see the world not the way it is but the way we are. Most of the time, other people’s behavior is a reaction to our own.
Whether it is our thoughts, actions or behavior, sooner or later they return and with great accuracy. Treat people with respect on your way up because you will be meeting them on your way down. The following story is taken from The Best of Bits & Pieces.
Many years ago two boys were working their way through Stanford. Their funds got desperately low, and the idea came to them to engage Ignacy Paderewski for a piano recital. They would use the funds to help pay their board and tuition.
The great pianist’s manager asked for a guarantee ofÄ$2,000. The guarantee was a lot of money in those days, but the boys agreed and proceeded to promote the concert. They worked hard, only to find that they had grossed only $1,600. After the concert the two boys told the great artist the bad news. They gave him the entire $1,600, along with a promissory note for $400, explaining that they would earn the amount at the earliest possible moment and send the money to him. It looked like the end of their college careers. “No, boys,” replied Paderewski, “that won’t do.” Then, tearing the note in two, he returned the money to them as well. “Now,” he told them, “take out of this $1,600 all of your expenses and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work. Let me have the rest.” University
The years rolled by. World War I came and went. Paderewski, now premier of Poland, was striving to feed thousands of starving people in his native land. The only person in the world who could help him was Herbert Hoover, who was in charge of the US Food and Relief Bureau. Hoover responded and soon thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland. After the starving people were fed, Paderewski journeyed to Paris to thank Hoover for the relief sent him. “That’s all right, Mr. Paderewski ,” was Hoover’s reply. “Besides, you don’t remember it, but you helped me once when I was a student at college, and I was in trouble.” It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
Goodness has a way of coming back; that is the nature of the beast. One doesn’t have to do good with a desire to get back. It just happens automatically.