In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter.
He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. However, the catch was that we would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter.
Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.
The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it were black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it were white, the debt would also be erased, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.
Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles. While he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.
The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:
She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it, ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark, “Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”
The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.
Moral of the story:
It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation through "out of the box thinking," and not give in to the only options you think you have to choose.
From: The Ten Most Inspirational Short Stories I've Ever Heard: https://wealthygorilla.com/10-most-inspirational-short-stories/
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” - Seneca
How are you preparing for that upcoming opportunity?
“Never confuse people who are always around you, with people who are always there for you.” - Gee Linder
Who are the people who are always there for you?
“When nothing goes right, go left.” - Miki Bennett
How do you change directions to improve your advantage?
“You can’t believe in anything without first believing in yourself.” - Ashley Howard
What do your personal beliefs say about the things that are important to you?
Floyd Allen, director of The Covenant Group in Phoenix, AZ, offers this “tasty” contribution to the continuing series of appropriate words and phrases that begin with the letters of the word L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P.
LETTUCE: “Lettuce” not forget that a leader is only as great as he or she makes their followers feel.
EGGS: Sometimes scrambled and sometimes sunny-side up, your followers will have inconsistent days, but a good leader finds something to praise.
APPLE: One a day keeps the doctor away, so if you want to keep your staff in good health, make sure they get at least one compliment a day from you.
DOUGHNUT: A good leader is always “around” and has his or her crew work as a “hole.”
EGGPLANT: A good leader – unlike an eggplant – is the same inside and out. People need to know your “true colors” before they can allow themselves to trust you fully.
RAVIOLI: Those who are led are often “stuffed” with good ideas. A true leader knows how to extract those ideas and get them implemented.
SALAD: Your staff may be a single unit, but it is made up of many individual parts. Recognize these individualities and allow them to thrive.
HONEY: Many of your staff are naturally sweet – don’t do anything to sour them.
ICE CREAM: Your staff may be made up of many “flavors.” Be sure all are treated equally and with respect.
PIZZA: There are many “toppings” you can serve as benefits to your staff, but the “crust” that holds everything together is respect.
From: Leadership…with a human touch, October 16, 2001, Pages 22-23
“A person who is at the top is a person who has the habit of getting to the bottom.” - Joseph E. Rogers
How do you go about questioning what you don’t know or understand?
“Mistakes are costly. The time to correct a mistake is before it is made. The causes of mistakes are, first, “I didn’t know”; second, “I didn’t think”; third, “I didn’t care.” - Henry H. Buckley
How do you limit mistakes in your life?
Harry Truman, 33rd president of the United States, was known as a fighter. Whether people agreed with Truman or not, they respected his straightforward way of looking at the facts and stating the truth - even when it hurt.
During the 1948 presidential campaign, the polls consistently showed him losing to Governor Thomas Dewey of New York. Asked about his apparently inevitable defeat, Truman went straight to the point and talked about an epitaph he'd seen in Arizona.
"Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man could have. Whenever a man does the best he can, then that is all he can do."
Following up that attitude with some of the hardest campaigning seen in a presidential election, Truman won by two million covets.
Adapted from The Bully Pulpit and printed in Leadership...with a human touch, October 16, 2001, Page 24
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” - Desmond Tutu
How are you courageous in difficult times?
“Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” - Wayne Dyer
How are you motivating yourself for success?
“Hurt someone with the truth, but never make them happy with a lie.” - LaFleur
What does your truth say about how you treat others?
“Time decides who you meet in life, your heart decides who you want in your life, and your behavior decides who stays in your life.” - Ziad K. Abdelnour
What does your behavior say about the people in your life?
“Either I will find a way, or I will make a way.” - Philip Sidney
How will you overcome what is standing between you and your goals?
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Author & Motivational Speaker
Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his ten-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and law enforcement expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.