All talk and no action

Once upon a time, the only thing that stood between complete happiness in a house full of mice was a big and mean old cat. So one night the mice got together and decided to do some brainstorming. They asked “How can we deal with the danger of the cat?” They voted on one brilliant idea that was proposed. They voted to hang a bell around the cat’s neck. Wherever the cat would go, the bell would warn them of danger if the cat got too close. Each of the mice…

The Seeds of leadership

Once upon a time, a successful business man was growing old and knew that the time to choose its successor to take over the business is coming near. But, instead of choosing one of his children or relatives, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company to meet him together. The day came and he started by saying, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.”  The young executives were…

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable, but a stick on its own…

A father had two sons that unfortunately weren’t very nice to each other. There was constant quarreling and bickering. No matter what this Father said to his sons, it didn’t do any good. As a result he thought long and hard about what he could say. He wanted to provide them some type of lesson that would help them realize the impact that their constant quarreling would ultimately have. One day the quarreling became more aggressive and even violent. The father broke it up and sent each son to a…

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!…

Life is but an echo

A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” Curious, he yells: “Who are you?” He receives the answer: “Who are you?” Now angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!” He receives the answer: “Coward!” So the boy looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?” The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.” And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!” The…

What does overcoming fear look like

Timmy and Jimmy both 9 years old loved playing the piano since they were very young. They both practiced hard and were getting better and better with each week passing. One day, their teacher had some exciting news. There was a concert coming up and they both had the opportunity to play in public for the first time. Timmy and Jimmy looked wide-eyed at each other with a mix of excitement and trepidation as they realized the opportunity they were presented with. “What would it be like?” they wondered. In the…

Be careful how you communicate

One night a married couple got into a fight. It was normal for the couple to boil in a war of silence for several days. And this night was no different, the couple had not spoken to each other for most of the night. Even as they were preparing for bed not a word was said. However the husband started getting concerned because he needed to be woken up at 5:00 AM the next morning so that he could catch an important flight. He was a heavy sleeper and relied on his…

Team building story: Balloon lessons

A team of 35 employees had come together for a team building event. They were a young, bright and enthusiastic team. However they had one big problem, they wouldn’t share information or solutions with each other. The leader felt they were too focused on self and not enough on team. So she started off with a fun team activity that would allow her to teach the importance of each team member working together and sharing more. She brought the team into the cafeteria. All of the tables and chairs had been stacked…

5 lessons we can learn from a pencil

A long time ago a Pencil Maker was preparing to put an important pencil in a box. Before doing so though, he took the pencil aside. “There are 5 things you need to know before I send you out into the world” he told the pencil. “Never forget them, and you will become the best pencil you can be.” “One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.” “Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time…

How to train a donkey

There was once a very frugal man who was always looking for ways to cut costs. One day he noticed that his hired hand was feeding the donkey more than he really needed. He called the hand and told him, “We’re wasting money feeding this animal more food than it needs. If we keep this up, the donkey will grow fat, it’s productivity will go down, and we’ll lose even more money! I’m going to take over the feeding of the donkey for a while and train it properly. I…

The importance of finding meaning in your work

Out for a walk one morning, a woman came across a construction site where three men were working. Curious, she approached one of them and asked what he was doing. Clearly annoyed that she had bothered him, he barked, »Can’t you see? I’m laying bricks!« Not easily put off, she asked the next man what he was doing. He responded matter-of-fact, »I’m building a brick wall 30 feet tall, 100 feet wide, and 18 inches thick.« Then, turning his attention to the first man, he said, »Hey, you just passed…

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…

The two wolves inside each of us

The Cherokee tell of a young boy who is brought before the council of elders for his aggressive behavior. One of the wisest of the elders takes the boy aside and shares with him this bit of wisdom: “I am not surprised that you are so aggressive. You see, each of us has, in his own soul, two wolves. One of these wolves is good, the other evil. They are both of equal strength and are locked in a violent battle to the death!” The young boy thinks about this…

What do you hear – focus on

One day two friends Gerry and Peter were walking down a sidewalk in Washington D.C.,during lunch time. People were husslin’ and busslin’ along the sidewalks, car honks and hurried engine noises filled the streets. In the middle of all this traffic, Peter stopped and said, “hey, a cricket!” “What?” said Gerry. “Yeah, a cricket,” Peter answered. “Look here,” and he pulled aside some of the bushes that separated the sidewalk from the government buildings. There in the shade was a cricket chirping away. “Wow,” said Gerry, “How did you hear that with all this noise and traffic?”…

What life lessons can you learn growing tomatoes

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,”…

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…

Always give it all you got – the carpenters last project

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his time with their extended family. He had it all planed out. Of course he would miss the paycheck, but they could get by and he felt like he needed to retire. The contractor was sorry to hear that one of his best workers wanted to retire but in the end he understood him. Before the carpenter would retire the contractor…

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…

I haven’t had the time to do that, I was to busy working

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees. “Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!” Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could…

To go after what you want you do not have to wait for something to happen

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained. Months passed, and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived. The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the…

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…

A life lesson about giving it everything you got

A father tells his 12-year-old son to go into the back yard and a remove a tree stump. The boy, eager to show his dad how he can master this manly task, runs out and begins pushing on the stump with all his might. After about twenty minutes of huffing and puffing, the stump hasn’t budged. The boy turns to realize his dad has been outside watching him this whole time. Embarrassed, he tells him, “I’m sorry Dad, I can’t do it.” His Dad just smiles and says, “Son, give…

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…

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…