The special exception… or is it

A very rich man was nearing the end of his life and he began to contemplate the life to come. He was very troubled that he would soon lose everything he had worked so hard for. All his wealth would soon belong to others and he would enter into the next world poor. It didn’t seem fair to him so he prayed day and night that he would be allowed to take all that he had amassed with him when the day comes his journey on this world ends. One…

How big of a splash you want to make is in your hands

One day a young apprentice and his mentor were on one of their regular walks going through the young apprentices teachings when they came across a pond. At the time, they were discussing the young apprentices wish to make a bigger impact with his work, when suddenly the mentor bent down and picked up a small pebble. He threw it into the water and they both watched the ripples spread. Watching the pebble hit the lake and the ripples spread the young apprentice said to his mentor, “I want to…

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…

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…

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…

Someone got fired… but who?

This is a story about a small ant which every day arrived at work early and started working immediately. She produced a lot and she was happy. The boss, a lion, was surprised to see that the ant was working without supervision. He thought if the ant can produce so much without supervision, wouldn’t she produce more if she had a supervisor! So the lion recruited a cockroach who had extensive experience as a supervisor and who was famous for writing excellent reports. The cockroach’s first decision was to set…

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…

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…

What does making a difference look like

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a…

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.«…

You see a flaw, others see a gift

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water…

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…

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 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…

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…

The greatest last place ever

Mexico City is a world away from the East African country of Tanzania, where John Stephen Akhwari lived. But that’s exactly where he found himself in October 1968, representing his country in the Summer Olympic Games as a marathon runner. Unfortunately, Akhwari suffered a fall during the race. And it wasn’t a gentle tumble on a grassy knoll. He fell hard on rough concrete, badly cutting his right leg and dislocating his knee. Medical personnel arrived quickly and bandaged his wounds. But the dislocated knee required more treatment than they…