Why Do We Fail?
Today, I want to share with you a parable to drive my point across.
Once there was a king. He was getting old. He knew it was time for him to choose a new successor, so he gathered all the boys in his kingdom and he told them that he will choose one of them as a new king. Everybody was excited and happy.
But king gave a condition. What was the condition? He said, “Today, I will give out each one of you one seed, a special seed. You will have to go home, plant it, and water it every day, and I will see you in one year. Once I’ll see you in a year, I will know who will be the new king.” Everybody was excited. They ran home.
One of them was a kid named Tom. When Tom told his mother about the condition that the king placed, she agreed to help. She got him a pot with soil. Tom took the seed, planted it, and started to nurture it, water it every day. Three, four weeks go by, he hears all the kids in school talking about their seeds and how those seeds started to sprout. He comes home. He sees nothing is happening with his seed. Five, six weeks go by. Kids are talking about their plants and the progress. Tom is keeping quiet. He doesn’t share any news at all. Three months go by, nothing is happening with Tom’s seed. He realized something is wrong. It’s probably dead. Six months go by, nothing is happening. He knew there is no hope. Meanwhile, all the kids in school don’t stop talking about their plants, how it started to blossom with the flowers, different shapes, different sizes. And obviously, he’s ashamed, keeps quiet, doesn’t share anything about his plant.
One year goes by, he looks at the window and he sees everybody’s heading towards the palace, and he sees everybody excited, carrying their plants, and he sees how awesome those are. And obviously, he’s very down. He doesn’t want to go to the palace. Mother told him that he has to fulfill the will of the king. He needs to take the pot with soil, even though there is no plant. He needs to head to the king. So he did.
As he arrived in the palace, he was so ashamed, he stood all the way in the back. He was hoping not to get noticed by the king and not to anger him.
When king came into the room, he showed his excitement, and he said, “Look at you guys. Look at the sizes and shapes of your plants. Everybody did good. Now let me look around the room.” As he walks around the room, he notices Tom and he sees Tom has a pot with no plant. He tells the guards, “Grab Tom and bring him to the front.” Tom was terrified. He was embarrassed out of his life, out of his mind, out of his life.
So when the king faced the crowd, he said, “Today I was going to choose one of you as the king, and I see everybody has different plants, different sizes, different shapes, and some of them are extremely beautiful, but I want to tell you something. Today, I will choose a king, and it’s going to be Tom.”
And everybody’s shocked. They’re looking at the pot of Tom, there is nothing there. The king said, “Yes, the reason why I choose him because he has no plant.” Everybody’s confused. He said, “A year ago, I gave you a seed which was cooked and it was impossible for it to blossom or produce any plants. All of you, few weeks later, after planting, saw no progress, decided to exchange the seed, and that’s why we see all these beautiful plants. All of you, except Tom. Tom was honest and brave enough to show up here with no plant, just as I instructed. So for his honesty, he’s going to be your new king.”
Now, the parable is extremely strong and powerful. A lot of times in life, we set goals. We want to achieve our goals. We start to achieve them, but as usual, things don’t always go the way we plan. And we try to deviate, find shortcuts to get to the goal somehow, bypass a lot of things, but that’s cheating.
If we take one step at a time and do what we’re supposed to, at the end there is a reward. We should always remember that it’s not about the achievement. It’s all about the process.