The Socrates filter

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance came to meet the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?” Socrates immediately stopped him saying “Hold on a minute”. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the Socrates Triple Filter Test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you…

Stress and worries are like a glass of water

A speaker was once explaining stress to an audience of around 300 people. He raised a big glass of water and asked the listening audience, “Does anyone know how heavy this glass is?” Answers varied from 100 to 500 grams. The speaker replied, “The absolute weight of this water really doesn’t matter all that much. What really matters is how long you try to hold it!” He continued, “If I am only holding it for a few minutes, the weight won’t be a problem. If I have to hold it for…

A story about a thousand mirrors

There was a place in a remote village far, far away called “The Palace of 1,000 Mirrors.” A happy and energetic little puppy who lived in this village had heard of the palace and decided to pay a visit. When he arrived, he playfully bounced up the steep stairs to the open door of the house. He looked through the door with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging very fast.  He was surprised because through the door he found 1,000 other happy dogs just like him wagging their…

Do not waddle through life – the duck story

This is a story about a little town of Ducks. Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper pews. The duck choir waddles in and takes it place, then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible (Ducks, like all other creatures on earth, seem to have their own special version of the Scriptures.) And then the duck minister starts to read to them: “Ducks! God has given you wings!…

Common sense is often not so common

Once there were four Indian medicine men who were considered to be the most clever and knowledgeable across all the prairies and forests. They learned nearly everything about nearly anything and were often asked for advice and to find solutions for the most difficult problems.  One day, a young Indian boy asked which of the four was the wisest because of course there must be one more wise than the others. This caused much arguing and debating among the people. To find out once and for all, one of the…

Two ants, sugar, salt and a lesson about change

Once there were two ants. One lived in a sack of salt while the other in a sack of sugar. The sugar ant once visited her neighbour and tasted the salt in her sack.  Finding it bitter she said, “Do come and visit my house. I’m sure you’ll find the food there much to your liking.”  The salt-fed ant accepted her neighbour’s invitation but being naturally cautious and not wanting to run short of food she took a grain of salt with her in her mouth. When she ate the sugar…

To grow or not to grow

Two seeds lay in the field where the farmer had thrown them. As the autumn days passed, birds searching for worms, and the wintry wind, loosened the earth, which slowly began to cover them. Patiently, they waited as the nights grew longer and the days grew colder. They huddled together for warmth. Even below the surface of the earth they noticed the changes going on above them. They felt the quality of the rain change as the warm squally autumn winds from the west gave way to the winter winds from…

Lessons of a lost horse

One day a horse with no identifying marks wandered into a farmyard. The farmer’s young son said he’d take responsibility for returning the horse to its owner. The boy mounted the horse, urged it towards the road and let it choose its own direction. The boy actively intervened only when the horse stopped to graze or wandered off the lanes and into a field. Otherwise, he just sat on the horse. When the horse finally ambled into a farm several miles away, the owner of the horse said, “How did…

From a misfortune to great fortune – what is really holding you back

A long time ago, a Monk set out on his travels accompanied by his assistant, a Brother. Night was falling when the Monk told the Brother to go on ahead to find lodging. The Brother searched the deserted landscape until he found a humble shack, in the middle of nowhere. A poor family lived in the hovel. The mother, father and children were dressed in rags. The Brother asked if he and the Monk could spend the night in their dwelling. “You are most welcome to spend the night,” said…

How to make your dream come true

Long ago there lived a Sower of Dreams.  He roamed over mountains and valleys, deserts and seas, planting in the hearts of men and women across the earth. One day, as he plodded along, dreams fell from his satchel to the ground. Some of these Dreams fell among peasants, some among kings, some among women, some among men. As the Dreams fell, some of the recipients/dreamers lifted their heads and smiled and decided to pursue their dream. But their heads soon clouded with doubts. Who were they to even think…

Be carefull when asking if it can get any worse

A poor man lived with his wife and six children in a very small one-room house. They were always getting in each other’s way and there was so little space they could hardly breathe! Finally the man could stand it no more. He talked to his wife and asked her what to do. “Go see the rabbi,” she told him, and after arguing a while, he went. And so the poor man told the rabbi how miserable things were at home with him, his wife, and the six children all eating and…

When your problems are tough to swallow like a handful of salt

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, he sent him to get a bag of salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. The young apprentice looked at the master as a lost puppy as he did not understand the purpose of it all. But still the apprentice did as the master said. “How does it taste?” the master asked. “Bitter” said the apprentice as he…

Worth more, less or the same?

A popular speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $100 bill. A crowd of 200 had gathered to hear him speak. He asked, “Who would like this $100 bill?” 200 hands went up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He crumpled the bill up. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” All 200 hands were still raised. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” Then he dropped the bill on the ground and stomped…

Only two questions on the final exam

One night four college kids stayed out late, partying and having a good time. They paid no mind about the final exam they had the next day for which they didn’t study. In the morning though panic took over and they hatched a plan to get out of taking the exam. They covered themselves with grease and dirt and went to the Dean’s office. Once there, they said they had been to a wedding the previous night and on the way back they got a flat tire and had to…

Making a choice between Heaven or Hell

An HR manager was knocked down (tragically) by a bus and was killed. Her soul arrived at the Pearly Gates, where St.Peter welcomed her. “Before you get settled in” he said, “We have a little problem…you see, we’ve never had a HR manager make it this far before and we’re not really sure what to do with you.” “Oh, I see,” said the woman, “can’t you just let me in?” “Well, I’d like to,” said St Peter, “But I have higher orders. We’re instructed to let you have a day…

A lesson about establishing true worth

One day a young man came to the Teacher and said: “I came to you because I feel so pathetic and worthless that I do not even want to be alive. Everyone around me is saying that I’m a loser, a useless idiot. I need your help, Teacher.” The Teacher, glancing at the young man, hurriedly responded: “I’m sorry, but I’m very busy right now, so I can not help you. I need to urgently settle a very important matter.” He added: “But if you agree to help me in my…

When you do not get an opportunity make one

A jobless man applied for the position of “office boy” at a very big company. The employer interviewed him, then gave him a test: to clean the floor. “You are hired.” the employer said. ”Give me your email address, and I’ll send you the application to fill, as well as when you will start.” The man replied, “I don’t have a computer, neither an email.” “I’m sorry,” said the employer, “if you don’t have an email , you cannot have the job.” The man left with no hope. He didn’t…

The seven wonders of the world most people forget about

Anna was a 9-year-old girl from a small village where she had just finished attending 4th grade of elementary school. To get into the 5th grade and onwards, she needed to get an admission into a school in a city nearby. When she got accepted to a very reputable school in a nearby city she was very exited and thrilled. This is where our story begins. Today was the first day of school for our little Anna, and she was very excited. When Anna came to her class everybody saw from her simple…

What would you do – The bus stop dilemma

TheBustStop choices
Picture yourself driving alone in your car on a wild, stormy night. After a hard and long day at work, you can see yourself parking your brand new sports car in the garage and relaxing at home doing nothing. But when you pass by a bus stop, you see three people waiting for the bus: An old lady who looks as if she is about to die. An old friend who once saved your life. The perfect person you have been dreaming about. So you decide to stop and give one of…

The black and white pebble

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer’s beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the farmer’s debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a…

Life is like a cup of coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers – top managers in their firms got together to visit their old university professor. It did not take too long for the conversation to turn into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.  When all the students had…

How much is an hour of your time

A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5 year old son waiting for him at the door. »Daddy, may I ask you a question?« »Yeah, sure, what is it?« replied the man.  »Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?«»That«s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?« the man said angrily. »I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?« pleaded the little boy. »If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.«…

What can you learn from a hammer and some nails

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally…

To who does the “gift” belong to when no one accepts it?

Some time ago in a village near the capital city of Japan, there lived an old samurai. One day when he was conducting a class for his students, one young warrior, who was famous for his rudeness and cruelty, approached the samurai wanting to challenge him to a duel. His favorite technique was provocation: he would make his opponent so indignant that, blinded by rage, he would accept the former’s challenge of a fight, and would then end up making a series of mistakes and ultimately lose. Sure enough, the young warrior began to insult the old man: he threw stones at him, he spat at him and called…

This is what happens when you master a skill set

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,”(Teacher in Japanese) the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied. Not…

Findings of a man who decided to change the world

Some time ago a young man wanted to change the world for the better. He dedicated his whole life to this mission and he was determined nothing would stop him. Finally almost at the end of his life his experiences and wisdom lead him to this discovery: “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…

What Are You?

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…

Sometimes you already have the solution for your problem, you just do not see it

During the early days of the Space Race, the USA and the Soviets were desperate to gain the critical edge that would see them first to land a spacecraft on the moon. Prestige, acclamation, and national honour depended upon it. The key, as it so often is, was the gathering of quality information. The technology had to be refined, and the effects of weightlessness and other non-terrestrial factors on the astronauts explored and understood. Naturally, the astronauts were in the front line of research. They were there, they were living…

What would you wish for?

One day a sales rep, and administration clerk, and their manager were walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.” “Me first! Me first!” says the admin clerk. The  other two look at each other and nod. The clerk says “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat without a care in the world.” Puff! She’s gone. “Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep looking at the…

Being on top

A merchant, a staunch pillar of society, wanted to protect his daughter from shame. When he realised she had become a ripe and succulent apple, ready for plucking, he took her aside one day and said, »My daughter, wicked and slippery are the ways of men in this world, and you must exercise the greatest care if you are not to bring disgrace on yourself and your family.« Now that he had his daughter’s attention, he continued, »Men are after only one thing, are exceedingly devious, and will stop at…

What is in the box?

There once was a beggar who sat on a box by the side of the road for many, many years. Day in and day out, swarms of strangers would pass him on their way and the beggar did what all beggars do  ask them for money. One day a traveler was passing through town and the beggar shouted “Can you please give me some money!”The traveler said “Sorry, I don’t have any money to spare, but I am curious about your box.” “What about my box?” the beggar replied. “Well,…

WHOEVER TELLS THE BEST STORY WINS: How to use your own stories to communicate with power and impact by Annette Simmons

Genres: Sales, Entrepreneurship, Business, Presentations, Nonfiction Rating: 4/5 Recommend to: People in sales, Customer service, Entrepreneurs, Project managers, Marketers, Start-up founders, Coaches. Number of pages: 226 pages Buy now at Book Depository Buy now at Amazon.co.uk Buy now at Amazon.com Buy now at Amazon.de THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK: At first I thought this book would be a treasure of stories that I could learn from and tell to others. Like the books Magic of Metaphors or Lead with a Story. But I found out that this book takes a different route of explaining…

Do you know where to tap?

At the end of the nineteenth century, a mill owner in the north of England was beside himself with worry. The steam boiler that provided light and power throughout his entire factory had broken down. Many experts had been to repair it but none had been successful. »Time is money,« he kept repeating to himself as he counted the costs of lost production. »Time is money.« At this point a man in blue overalls was shown into his office. »I can repair your system, Sir,« he said. The mill owner…

The Reward of Study

An ambitious young man had travelled far from his family and native land to study in a distant and foreign country. For seven years he applied himself with discipline and diligence to learn the art and science of physiognomy, the skill of detecting personality and character in the faces of others. He qualified with honours and set off on the long journey back to his homeland. On his way he missed no opportunity to test his skills in reading the personality of others in their faces. Travelling across a wide…

The flood and the old man

Right in the heart of America is a very famous town. It’s famous for several reasons. Firstly, because it’s right smack in the geographical center of the continental landmass. Secondly, because it’s a town of extremes: it’s either very, very hot or very, very cold; either very, very wet or very, very dry; either very, very windy or very, very still. Just to the north are high mountains, where the water collects as rainfall or snow to form the river which runs right through the heart of the town. Rain…

A quarryman wants to become a rock

The quarryman’s work was hard. He worked all day in the quarry from dawn to dusk. His hands were hard and callused. His back was bent, and his face was weathered and lined. He was not happy. He said, »This is no life. Why is it my fate to be a quarrymen? Why can’t I be someone who has more wealth than I do? If only I were rich, then I’d be happy.« An Angel appeared and said, »What would have to happen for you to know you were rich…

A story about how an Eagle became a Chicken

There was a chicken farmer who was a very keen rock climber. One day, climbing a particularly challenging rock face, he came upon a ledge. On te ledge was a large nest and in the nest, three large eggs. Eagle eggs. He knew it was distinctly unecological, and undoubtedly illegal, but temptation got the better of him and he discreetly put one of the eagle eggs in his rucksack, checking first to make sure the mother eagle wasn’t around. Then he continued his climb, drove back to his ranch, and…

Caged birds freedom

The bird in the cage had lived there for a very long time. Often it would look through the bars of the cage, out of the window to the meadows and trees beyond. It could see other birds flying free in the open air and often it would wonder how it would be to feel the sun on its back, the wind in its feathers, to swoop and soar and snatch mosquitoes in flight. When the bird thought of these things it could feel its heart beating with excitement. It…

Collecting pebbles

Some time ago in the middle of the desert three nomads were preparing to go to sleep. It was pitch black and getting cold. They had parked their camels, taken what they needed from the saddle bags, pitched their tents, and rolled out their sleeping mats. They were just about to settle down for the night when their attention was attracted to a curious glowing light on the horizon. As they watched, the light brightened. It gained intensity, it gleamed and glowed and glistened, galloping towards them, until it filled the…

The Value Of Time

A businessman had amassed a fortune that amounted to three million dollars. He decided that he would take a year off from work and live in the kind of luxury that his wealth allowed him. But no sooner had he made this decision than the Angel of Death beckoned him. The man, who was a skillful negotiator, tried every argument he could think of to dissuade the Angel and to buy himself more time. But the Angel of Death was adamant; the man’s time had come. In final desperation, the…

A King his adviser and two piglets

The King was watching a great magician perform his act. The crowd was enthralled and so was the King. At the end the audience roared with approval. And the King said: »What a gift this man has. A god-given talent.« But a wise counsellor said to the king, »my Lord, genius is made, not born. This magician’s skill is the result of discipline and practice. These talents have been learned and honed over time with determination and discipline.« The King was troubled by this message. The counsellor’s challenge had spoiled…

Today is the day the giant comes

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a very bright and trustworthy young woman. Having learned all she could in her own village, she set out to explore the neighboring lands. After some time, she came upon a great city surrounded by a huge castle wall. »Surely I can learn something new from the people here,« she thought to herself. But after entering the city, she found its people too frightened and depressed to share any wisdom. »Why is everyone here so sad?« she asked. One…

A story of two monks and a woman

Two monks were on a pilgrimage. They had already walked many miles avoiding where they could run into people for they were from a particular order of monks that were forbidden to speak to or touch women. They had no wish to offend anyone so they kept to the by-way and lived off the land. It was the rainy season and as they walked across a broad plain they were hoping that the river they had to cross would not be impassable. From afar they could see that the river…