Most people like to think end of year as just a new day like any other day. As much as that is true, others like to see it as a new beginning or a spring board to do things they couldn’t do the year before or a second chance. I like to think of it as a time to reflect, regroup and re-strategise – doesn’t necessarily mean everything in the past year went to shit and therefore need re-strategising but it means stepping up or improving on the year before. It’s another chance to start again. More people than not make new year resolutions – start a business, date more, be better, lose/add weight, etc – always in the positive. No one knows what awaits but we are hopeful, and we intend to give our best. Things I hear new year message is that of hope, inspiration, and thinking outside the box to overcome hardships or tough situations.
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 wipe out the debt completely. However, there was a catch – for the debt to be forgiven the old dude would have to marry the businessman’s daughter. Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust and disapproval.
The loan-shark offered what he thought was a fair way to decide. 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 was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark. They all agreed it was fair.
Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles. Whilst 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:
- Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
- Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
- Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.
- Or think outside the box.
She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She then said, “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 was 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: Think outside the box in every situation, you might just surprise yourself. You don’t need to embarrass anyone to forge ahead or make a point. And whenever you feel like manipulating a situation ensure all possible outcomes are covered. Be kind. Be humble.
Have a great 2019.