The young apprentice met with his older mentor the town Sage for his weekly chat at his home.
“You seem troubled,” observed the sage.
“You know that project that I’ve been working on? It just didn’t work and I couldn’t get the result that I was after,” the young apprentice told the sage.
“That happens sometimes,” said the Sage, shrugging his shoulders.
“But I worked so hard, I deserved a better outcome,” responded the apprentice with frustration.
The sage sat in silence for a moment.
“Let me show you something,” said the sage as he jumped to his feet and led his protegé outside. “See this dead tomato plant?”
“Yes, what about it?”
“I did everything right when I planted it. I watered it, fertilised it and made sure that there were no weeds around it, but it still died.”
“So what?” asked the young apprentice indignantly.
“No matter how much you want to control the final outcome, you can’t. All that you can do is control the controllable, take responsibility for doing all that you can the rest is not in your hands.” answered the sage.
“So what do I do? If success is not guaranteed, should I just give up?” asked the apprentice looking troubled.
The sage chuckled to himself and led his young apprentice back inside.
“That’s the dilemma, isn’t it?” said the sage. “And it’s one that gives too many people an excuse for not doing anything remarkable with their lives. If you can’t be sure of succeeding, why bother?”
“Why indeed!” said the apprentice as he walked towards the front door to leave.
“Before you go, could you get me something from the pantry?” asked the old sage.
“OK,” said the apprentice. When he opened the pantry door, he was confronted with a basket full of large, juicy, bright red tomatoes.
The sage observed the apprentices surprised face and said, “Of course, not every tomato plant died. If you consistently do the right thing, you will dramatically increase your chances of delivering phenomenal outcomes. But if you give up due to one or two negative results, you’ll never reap a reward.”
And with that in mind the young apprentice went back to his work determined to increase his chances of the outcome he wanted.
Lessons from this story:
- Many get upset by their setbacks and look for an excuse to not go on or to not try one more time.
- Look at your setbacks as teachings, which are preparing you to get it right next time.
- There is a saying “The harder I work the luckier I get”. Try workign harder and smarter… before writing the saying off.
Are there any lessons I missed from this story? Please let me know in the comment section.
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