Sometimes a good story can help us to do what even the best explanations struggle with – make the invisible truths in life more visible.
So here are three of my favorite stories about success, wealth, and the human experience. The first is in the form of a poem written by Kurt Vonnegut; the second a story told by the Reverend Fred Craddock and reprinted with permission in Creating the Impossible. The third is an old Hindu teaching story that I wrote my version of for the not yet available newly revised edition of Supercoach.
Over the years, each one of these stories has served as a friendly alarm clock, waking me back up to the deeper truth about life and helping me to step back, slow down, and enjoy my day…
1. Joe Heller
by Kurt Vonnegut
True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer now dead, and I were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island.
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in Peace!
2. The Reverend and the Greyhound
by Dr. Fred Craddock
I suspect it didn’t happen quite like this, but I’ll let Dr. Fred Craddock share a surprising encounter he had with an old greyhound dog his niece had recently adopted…
I said to the dog “Are you still racing?”
“No,” he replied
“Well, what was the matter? Did you get too old to race?”
“No, I still had some race in me.”
“Well, what then? Did you not win?”
“I won over a million dollars for my owner.”
“Well, what was it? Bad treatment?”
“Oh, no,” the dog said. “They treated us royally when we were racing.”
“Did you get crippled?”
“Then why?” I pressed. “Why?”
The dog answered, “I quit.”
“Yes,” he said. “I quit.”
“Why did you quit?”
“I just quit because after all that running and running and running, I found out that the rabbit I was chasing wasn’t even real.”
3. The Rich Man and the Beggar
Many years ago, a man was sitting in quiet contemplation by a riverbank when he was disturbed by a beggar from the local village.
“Where is the stone?” the beggar demanded. “I must have the precious stone!”
The man smiled up at him. “What stone do you seek?”
“I had a dream,” the beggar continued, barely able to slow his words to speak, “and in that dream a voice told me that if I went to the riverbank I would find a man who would give me a precious stone that would end my poverty forever!”
The man looked thoughtful, then reached into his bag and pulled out a large diamond.
“I wonder if this was the stone?” the man said kindly. “I found it on the path. If you’d like it, you may certainly have it.”
The beggar couldn’t believe his luck, and he snatched the stone from the man’s hand and ran back to the village before he could change his mind.
One year later, the beggar, now dressed in the clothes of a wealthy man, came back to the riverbank in search of his anonymous benefactor.
“You have returned, my friend!” said the man, who was again sitting in his favorite spot enjoying the peaceful flow of the water before him. “What has happened?”
The beggar humbled himself before the man.
“Many wonderful things have happened to me because of the diamond you gave me so graciously. I have become wealthy, found a wife and bought a home. I am now able to give employment to others and to do what I want, when I want with whomever I want.”
“For what have you returned?” asked the man.
“Please,” the rich beggar said. “Teach me whatever it is inside you that allowed you to give me that stone so freely.”
This week, do your best to enjoy your life and everyone in it, knowing these three things to be true:
- You have enough.
- The “rabbits” you’ve been chasing aren’t real.
There is something alive inside you which will make your life richer than the wealthiest beggar in all the world.
Have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!
With all my love,