There was once upon a time, a man. He didn’t know what to do with his life, and he had a chip on his shoulder, and he went out into the woods, to meditate or something or other.
And he kept saying, I’m a failure.
I’m a failure, I’m a failure, and I’ll never be anything but a failure. And, If failing were an art, then, surely he’d have won and be recognized as a complete one.
I’m a failure, he said. And he repeated it, until there was no way in his mind it wasn’t true.
Something mustve triggered something which triggered something else because all that whining attracted attention - he got someone’s attention. And he repeated I’m a failure, I’m a failure, over and over again until he believed it entirely.
And strange as it may seem at the time when it happened this newcomer had presence. But in no way did the two men know each other, nor had they met. No one knew he was here. He had made it that way.
And this hermit kept starring.
What was this guy’s problem?
Did he want something?
So a few seconds went by, and the uneasiness of the situation prompted the man to spontaneously open up. And he said, “I’m a failure.”
That old man, as it turned out, was one wise old fellow. He had lived. Our depressed man stood right in front of him waiting for some miracle to happen, and somehow intuited this man would not be looked for.
If you want to have a conversation with a strange fellow it helps not to have other people around, just so you know.
And, the hermit said, look “Do you see that fern and bamboo over there?” “When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them water, light and fertilizer. Within a short period of time the fern quickly grew.
But no matter how much I tried I couldn’t get the bamboo seed to grow worth a damn. Not even an inch. It just, wouldn’t grow. In fact, nothing at all happened.
And against anything my body was telling me at the time, I continued to water and nurture, water and nurture, and water and nurture some more. Until I was dead sick of it.
And just when I was about to give up, by the fifth year, give or take, a miracle happened: a sprout e-merged.
So happy I watered and nurtured, and watered and nurtured, and within about six months a tree had grown.
I understood that day, that things that are worthwile, always - always - require time." The man nodded in aggreement and gave him a smile and said, "I understand what you mean."
You see, the work that you don’t see can be just as, if not more, important than the one that is readily observable to anybody.
At some place, somewhere some bloke with no idea is being fooled by another man’s success right now. He gets excited by that, because it seems strong and solid, you see.
But however weak the root system of that success is in actuality, he fails to notice the cracks, and when the whole thing comes crashing and burning down to the ground gets thrown back by it. Why, that guy had all this success, what happened to him? Well - don't ask him to grow you a bamboo; he probably would fail you miserably.
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