Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Two Paths to the Same Result Aren't Always the Same At All

When my sister and I were young my Mom used to tell us, among others, the story of the sun and the wind and their argument over strength.  She told it well. The Sun the Wind and the Traveler were all characters and had dialog. The battle back and forth between the two natural forces was fascinating.  It's one of Aesop's fables, and like his tales do, it has a moral (though when I was a kid I just remember enjoying the story part and not being very aware of the lesson woven within, though it clearly impacted me).

Mom told it better, in a much longer and more entertaining way but, in a nutshell, it goes like this:

The Wind and the Sun
The Wind and the Sun were disputing which between them was stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road and the Sun said, "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that travelers cloak to come off of his shoulders shall be regarded as the stronger of us. You begin." So the Sun went behind a cloud as the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler.  But the harder he blew the more closely the traveler held his cloak to him, til at last the Wind had to give up in despair.  

Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, wrapping him in warmth. Soon the traveler found it too warm to be walking with his cloak on and he took it off.

Kindness, Gentleness and Warmth Win 
Where Force Fails

In this story the result was the same, the man made it home. Yet his two experiences, and two paths to the same result, were very different. Picture the man walking in each condition. What does his speed and his posture say about the experience he is having. Now imagine the story the man would tell his family as he arrived home. 

"What a wild walk home. Brrrr. The wind was so crazy that I lost my cloak"  
Imagine his tone and his face. What would his muscle tension be? 

Now the other.

"What a lovely walk home. The sun came out and shone so brightly that I carried my cloak home" 
Imagine his face and his time as he told this tale.

I have often heard people speak of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. For one moment let us considered just that. I don't mean to imply that you should consider treating others well because you will then be more likely to get from them what you want. But I am asking you to consider that if the end result will be the same, or perhaps even better, why would you not choose to go about the process in a way that makes the experience just as rewarding as the result?? 

Sometimes there are 2 paths to the same destination and sometimes those two paths are each very different.

Shift your perception some. Bend the rules. Create a Win/Win scenario. Practice seeing the situation from the side of light. Be gentle, kind and warm wherever you can. Let that good feeling spread throughout your whole self and spill into the experiences of those near you. Let THAT be the ripple effect that your choices cause. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by choosing to do what you do in the most love filled way that you can. 

Is there a story from your childhood that you remember not just enjoying but learning from??  How do you feel when you think about it now?? Is there a lesson in the story that still applies today?? Is it one you have shared with generations younger than you?? What do you hope that they learn from your favorite story??