Art, Philosophy, Story

The Zen Master & The Little Boy

“In this village, a little boy is given a gift of a horse. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that fabulous? Isn’t that wonderful? What a wonderful gift.”

The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”

A couple years later the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that terrible? The horse is cursed! That’s horrible!”

The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”

A few years later the country goes to war and the government conscripts all the males into the army, but the boy’s leg is so screwed up, he doesn’t have to go. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that fabulous? Isn’t that wonderful?”

The Zen master says, “We’ll see.””

*This is a version of a story first depicted in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007) starring Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts.

Art, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, Life, Story

“The Big Rocks of Life” by Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The Big Rocks of Life

by Dr. Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012)

One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either. As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”

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Art, Life, Poetry, Theodore Roosevelt

“The Man In The Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt

The Man In The Arena

by Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 

“The Man In The Arena” is an excerpt from a much longer speech given by Theodore Roosevelt on April 23, 1910 entitled “Citizenship in a Republic“.