TRUE STORIES

TRUE STORIES

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The frogs and the tower

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs...

... who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants...

The race began...

Honestly, no-one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as:
"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"
"They will NEVER make it to the top".
"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"


The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one...
... Except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher...

The crowd continued to yell
"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"


More tiny frogs got tired and gave up...
...But ONE continued higher and higher and higher...
This one wouldn't give up!


At the end, everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?


A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal?


It turned out...

That the winner was deaf.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The problem with Dandelions

A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him.

Finally he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question: "What shall I do now?"

In due course, the reply came: "We suggest you learn to love them."

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

How to Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs

You can’t control everything, but you can help foster their entrepreneurial spirit.

The media’s fascination with young entrepreneurs gives off the impression that all of America’s businesses are being run by messy-haired twenty-somethings who quit college and started their first company in their teens. The truth is, the number of businesses started by people 30 years and younger has declined by 65% since the 1980s. This is an alarming statistic.
If we want to raise kids who think like entrepreneurs, we need to give them the space, creativity, and discipline to do so.
Ahead of Small Business Saturday, here are five lessons to help prepare your children for a successful career as an entrepreneur.

1. Land the helicopter
Our natural instinct as parents is to protect our children, often to their detriment. Let your children experience and embrace stress. The entrepreneurs of tomorrow are problem solvers. Empower your children to solve problems and overcome obstacles on their own. Give guidance when necessary, but let them fall on their face every now and then.
2. Help them learn to love work
The unemployment rate of 20-24 year olds is the highest of any age group by almost double (excluding those younger than 19 years old). Lack of work experience only makes this problem worse. Encourage your kids to take any job opportunities they can find: waiting tables, pouring coffee, flipping burgers, or any other entry-level job. These types of jobs teach time management, interpersonal skills, and communication skills: the foundation for any successful entrepreneur.
3. Treat them like adults
Technology can hinder the development of basic communication skills, which are a learned skill. Bring your kids into adult conversations, adult situations, and push communication development at an early age. The steady shrinking of attention spans has made the ability to focus a huge challenge. Parents are helping kids give up on hard work, instead of pushing it. Encourage your children to finish everything they start.
The average American lost a third of their wealth in the most recent recession. Our children, whether Gen Z or Gen Y, have seen this firsthand. They’ve witnessed job loss. Encourage your children to work hard to keep and maintain their jobs. Don’t give them an easy out and push them to succeed in the real world outside of living at home.
4. Advise them to think carefully about their major
Entrepreneurship is much more than just a concept; you must have a product or service to sell. With limited job exposure and work experience, students typically select majors based on guess work and then the career follows. Encourage your child to seek out mentors, career counselors, and job shadowing opportunities that can later be turned into a business.
5. Encourage them to take business classes
Taking a variety of business classes will make your children well-rounded. Encourage your child to take classes in finance, economics, and accounting so they can understand the inner and outer workings of a successful business. Focus on building experience. Find entrepreneurial internships and work for entrepreneurial companies. Entrepreneurs come from ideas, and ideas come from of exposure.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Chopsticks

A woman who had worked all her life to bring about good was granted one wish: "Before I die let me visit both hell and heaven." Her wish was granted.

She was whisked off to a great banqueting hall. The tables were piled high with delicious food and drink. Around the tables sat miserable, starving people as wretched as could be. "Why are they like this?" she asked the angel who accompanied her. "Look at their arms," the angel replied. She looked and saw that attached to the people's arms were long chopsticks secured above the elbow. Unable to bend their elbows, the people aimed the chopsticks at the food, missed every time and sat hungry, frustrated and miserable. "Indeed this is hell! Take me away from here!"

She was then whisked off to heaven. Again she found herself in a great banqueting hall with tables piled high. Around the tables sat people laughing, contented, joyful. "No chopsticks I suppose," she said. "Oh yes there are. Look - just as in hell they are long and attached above the elbow but look... here people have learnt to feed one another".

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Friday, 18 November 2016

A meeting of Minds

Martin was returning to work in his London office after spending two weeks with his brother over in New York. He was coming back with a heavy heart. It was not just that it was the end of a wonderful holiday; it was not just that he invariably suffered badly from jet lag; it was that Monday mornings always began with a team meeting and, over the months, he had grown to hate them.

Martin was aware that colleagues approached these meetings with hidden agendas; they indulged in game-playing; and he knew that people were not being honest and open. The meetings themselves were bad enough - but then there was all the moaning afterwards. "The usual people saying the usual things". "I could have improved on that idea, but I wasn't going to say". "I was thinking of making a suggestion - but I couldn't be bothered".

As this morning's meeting began, Martin braced himself for the usual moroseness and monotony. But, as the meeting progressed, he became aware of a strange background noise. At first, he thought that he was still hearing the engine noise from the aircraft that had brought him back to London - he had had to sit over the wing and the droning was terrible. But, as he concentrated on the noise, it became a little clearer.

He realised - to his amazement - that he could hear what his colleagues were thinking as well as what they were saying. As he concentrated still harder, he found that he could actually hear what they were thinking at the same time as they were speaking. What surprised him, even more than the acquisition of this strange power, was that he discovered that what people were saying was not really what they were thinking. They were not making clear their reservations. They were not supporting views which they thought might be unpopular. They were not contributing their new insights. They were not volunteering their new ideas.

Martin found it impossible not to respond to his new knowledge. So he started to make gentle interventions, based more on what he could hear his colleagues thinking than on what he could hear them saying. "So, John are you really saying .." "Susan, Do you really think that …" "Tom, Have you got an idea on how we could take this forward?" He was aware that his colleagues were unsettled by how insightful were these interventions. They looked at him mystified. In truth, he felt rather proud of his newly-acquired talent.

Emboldened now, Martin forgot his usual misery at participating in such meetings and began making comments of his own. However, he became aware that some of his colleagues were looking at him quizzically. One or two even had a gentle smile playing on their lips. Only gradually did it dawn on him - they could hear his thoughts and he was not really saying what he was thinking.

As the meeting progressed, Martin became aware of changes to the tone and style of the event. It was clear to him now that, one by one, each member of the meeting was learning how to hear the thoughts of all the others and this was subtly changing how they inter-acted with one another. The game-playing started to fall away; people started to speak more directly; views became better understood; the atmosphere became more open and trusting.

The meeting ended. As people left the room, Martin found that he could still hear what they were thinking. "That was the best meeting we've ever had." "All meetings should be like that." "In future, I'm going to say what I think".

Author: Roger Darlington
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Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Seeker Of Truth

After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. 'Ask the well what is truth', he was advised, 'and the well will reveal it to you'. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, 'Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking'.

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, 'You will understand in the future.' When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of - or so he thought at the time - the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A sense of a Goose

Next Autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What message do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally - and this is important - when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

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Monday, 7 November 2016

The great fire and the little water

Among the Aztec people of Mexico, it is said that a long time ago there was a great fire
in the forests that covered our Earth. People and animals started to run,
trying to escape from the fire. Our brother owl, Tecolotl, was running away
also when he noticed a small bird hurrying back and forth between the
nearest river and the fire. He headed towards this small bird.

He noticed that it was our brother the Quetzal bird, Quetzaltototl, running
to the river, picking up small drops of water in his beak, then returning to
the fire to throw that tiny bit of water on the flame. Owl approached
Quetsal bird and yelled at him: "What are you doing brother? Are you
stupid? You are not going to achieve anything by doing this. What are you
trying to do? You must run for your life!"

Quetzal bird stopped for a moment and looked at owl, and then answered: "I
am doing the best I can with what I have."

It is remembered by our Grandparents that a long time ago the forests that
covered our Earth were saved from a great fire by a small Quetzal bird, an
owl, and many other animals and people who got together to put out the fire.

Source: "Turning To One Another" by Margaret Wheatley

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Two Wolves

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The grandfather answered: "The one I feed."

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Saturday, 5 November 2016

The carrot,the egg and the coffee bean

A young woman went to her mother and told her about
her life and how things were so hard for her. She did
not know how she was going to make it and wanted
to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots
with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots
came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the
second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground
coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners.
She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.
She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked,
"Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman replied.
The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.
She did and noted that they were soft.
She then asked her to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.
The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had
faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each
reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard
and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to
the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had
protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through
the boiling water, its inside became hardened!
The ground coffee beans were unique, however.
After they were in the boiling water, they had
changed the water.

"Which are you?" the mother asked her daughter.
"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?
Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems
strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and
become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that
starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?

Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup,
or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same,
but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff
spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee
bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the
very circumstance that brings the pain. When the
water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst,
you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their
greatest, do you elevate to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?


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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Everyone is important

During Mark's first month of college, the professor gave his students a pop quiz. He was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until he read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. He had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name? He handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They each deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'". Mark never forgot that lesson. He also learned her name was Dorothy.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Bad by Name; Bad by Nature

During Nelson Mandela's 19 years imprisoned on Robben Island, one particular commanding officer was the most brutal of them all:

"A few days before Badenhorst's departure, I was called to the main office. General Steyn was visiting the island and wanted to know if we had any complaints. Badenhorst was there as I went through a list of demands. When I had finished, Badenhorst spoke to me directly.

He told me he would be leaving the island and added: 'I just want to wish you people good luck'. I do not know if I looked dumbfounded, but I was amazed. He spoke these words like a human being and showed a side of himself we had never seen before. I thanked him for his good wishes and wished him luck in his endeavours.

I thought about this moment for a long time afterwards. Badenhorst had perhaps been the most callous and barbaric commanding officer we had had on Robben Island. But that day in the office, he had revealed that that there was another side to his nature, a side that had been obscured but still existed.

It was a useful reminder that all men, even the most seemingly cold-blooded, have a core of decency and that, if their hearts are touched, they are capable of changing. Ultimately, Badenhorst was not evil; his inhumanity had been foisted upon him by an inhuman system. He behaved like a brute because he was rewarded for brutish behaviour."

Source: "Long Walk To Fredom" by Nelson Mandela


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