17 January 2013

Frogs on the Wall

Here's a story from the Analects of Confucius (论语):

There were a bunch of frogs sitting at the base of a wall. They had heard that there was a splendid view from the top, and if they climbed up there, they would be able to lie happily in the sun, admiring the view. So they all started climbing.

But, after a while, one of them said, "This is tough. Do I really want to climb all the way up there? I'm going down."

On hearing this, another one said, "He's right. Why are we doing this? It's much too tiring." And he too quit.

Soon, one by one, the frogs all abandoned the attempt and returned to the bottom. Except for one frog, who kept on going, steadily climbing, till he reached the top. Then he happily sat in the sun, admiring the view.

All the other frogs were amazed, and when that one frog eventually came down again, the others asked him, "How come you continued going when we all gave up?"

But he did not answer them. Because he was deaf.

And the moral of the story is this: if you want to get on in life, don't listen to the moaning and griping from the people around you. Just get on and do it.

I sometimes think we all spend a bit too much time listening to the complaints of people around us rather than getting on with things.