Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Secret of Success

One day, a young man went to the home of Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, and asked, "Sir, I have come to seek your wisdom.  Will you help me?" 
Socrates looked at the boy and replied, "How can I be of assistance?"
The boy responded, "I want to be a great success. Will you teach me all I need to know so I can be a great success?"

"Certainly, my son," replied Socrates.  "Walk with me."  Socrates began to walk and headed towards the sea.  Once on the sand, Socrates continued to walk straight into the water.  The young man followed.  When both were chest deep in the ocean, Socrates placed his hands on the young man's head and quickly forced it under the water. After about ten seconds, the young man fought his way to the surface and began to gasp for air.  Socrates released the boy’s head, turned and walked away.

The young man was appalled.  He had traveled a great distance to meet with this scholar whom he admired and respected and when he asked for his wisdom all he did was put his head under water.  Never again, vowed the young man, would he seek the advice of Socrates.

However, time as we know, has a way of healing wounds and after a week went by, the young man thought maybe he did something to upset Socrates.  So back he went to visit the scholar.  Again he beseeched Socrates to teach him all he needed to know so he could be a great success.

Socrates smiled and once again agreed. He asked the young man to follow him and again they walked toward the ocean. Just like before, Socrates walked in the water and, when the water was chest high, Socrates grabbed the young man by his head and pushed it under water.  This time, however, the young man was ready.  Before going under, he took a big gulp of air and held his breath for almost for thirty seconds before coming up gasping for air.  As he wiped the water from his eyes, he saw Socrates already on the shore walking away.

Now the young man was livid.  Twice he had approached Socrates for the knowledge he needed to become a great success and twice Socrates took him to the ocean and put his head under water.  Never ever again would he be insulted and humiliated like this.

Well, thirty days passed and the young man had time to reflect. He truly wanted to be a success.  Socrates had the wisdom he needed so he decided to go one final time to see the scholar.  Upon arriving at Socrates’ home, he rapped on the door.  When Socrates appeared, the young man said, "I hope you remember me?" 
Socrates flashed a big smile and said, "I do.  You are the young man who wants to be a great success."
The young man once again asked Socrates, "Will you please teach me all I need to know and all I need to learn to be a success?" 
Socrates nodded and said, "Absolutely."  Then he started walking toward the ocean with the young man following in step.

This time the young man was well prepared.  As soon as Socrates grabbed his head, he took a deep swallow of air, relaxed and was able to hold his breath underwater for almost two minutes. When he finally surfaced for air, Socrates had already walked away.

Furious the young man ran after Socrates.  When he was a few feet from Socrates he shouted, "Socrates, why is it every time I come to you and ask for your help to gain the wisdom and the knowledge on how to be a great success, all you do is take me out in the water and dunk my head?"

Socrates turned around, faced the young man, and said, "Son, I have tried three times now to teach you the secret of being a great success. The secret is simple: When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, you will be a great success."

If you liked this story will you let me know?

View more great stories at:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Canoe Race

A Chinese corporation challenged its American competitor to a canoe race.  The challenge was simple:  Each company would form a canoe racing team and the teams would race 'three miles' down the Mississippi.  Without hesitation, the American firm accepted the challenge.

The American company assembled its canoe racing team which it titled the CRT.  The CRT practiced three hours every day.  When race day arrived, the Chinese team won by almost a mile.  Feeling sorry for its American competitor, the Chinese executives offered to host a rematch in one year. The American firm readily accepted the new  challenge.
Word spread quickly throughout the American company that their CRT loss the race and every American employee was stunned.  Worse yet, morale within the company began to sag.  Senior executives were adamant to determine why their CRT suffered such a crushing defeat.
A special committee, the Canoe Racing Fact Finding Committee or CRFFC was created and given two responsibilities:

    1) Determine the cause for the CRT's loss, and

    2) Recommend strategies for next year's CRT.

The CRFFC got right to work.  After an exhaustive investigation, it concluded the primary reason the CRT lost was because the Chinese team had seven people paddling and one person steering, whereas their CRT had only one person paddling and seven people trying to steer.
The CRFFC made the following recommendations:

First, The CRT needed to be restructured. The CRFFC suggested a position of 'Director of Canoeing' or DC be created.  The DC would be the sole person responsible for how the canoe was steered.  Since this was a such a critical position the CRFFC suggested the Director be assigned two deputy Directors called D/DC's; one D/DC would develop canoe steering procedures and the other D/DC would implement effective steering policies.

Second, to ensure every steering direction given by the DC was clearly understood, the CFFC recommended four Canoe Area Steering Managers or CASM's be hired.  The CASM's would sit in critical areas of the canoe and relay the DC's steering directions.

Third, the CRFFC recommended firing the current canoe paddler and hiring a new paddling team.  The new paddling team would be big, strong and possess great canoe skills.  The new Canoe Paddling Team would be called the CPT
Fourth, the CRFFC recommended a special compensation for the CPT.  The CRFFC believed the CPT should be compensated based on merit - meaning if  the CPT won the race, the CPT would receive a substantial bonus.  The CRFFC believed a bonus incentive would ensure the CPT paddled harder.  The CRFFC suggested this new  compensation system be called the "Canoe Paddling Performance Compensation System"  or CPPCS for short.  

Fifth, the CFFC felt the CPT should attend all CRT meetings.  Having the DC, his D/DC's  and the CASM's along with the CPT in the meetings would ensure everyone had input on the CRT strategies.  

Sixth, to keep the CPT motivated during the year the CRFFC asked the Human Resources Department (HRD) to develop an employee slogan such as "Quality Canoeing Wins Races."  HRD ordered Quality Canoeing Wins Races lapel pins, pens, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, signs, and memo pads, etc.,  which were distributed to all company employees.  

As the year progressed, the CPT, DC, D/DC's and the CASM's practiced every day and held weekly staff meetings. HRD kept passing out the "Quality Canoeing Wins Races" incentives.  Soon the second race day arrived and this time the Chinese company won by almost two miles.

Furious over this second loss, senior management decided to:

   1)  Terminate the CPT, the DC, the D/DC and the CSAM's
        citing failure to achieve objectives;
   2)  Cancel all future CRT investments and expenditures;
   3)  Sell the all the CRT equipment including canoe,
        paddles, life preservers and trailer.

Senior executives did, however, feel the establishment of the CRT was a bold, forward thinking endeavor.  To thank all employees who sat on the CFFRC for their hard work and for displaying such initiative and exerting great creativity, senior executives decided to reward them all with a sizable year-end bonus.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is It Okay To Lie?

Two elderly gentlemen were admitted to a long-term care facility and were assigned roommates.  One injured in a car accident was not expected to live long; the other had advanced heart disease and had just undergone triple bypass surgery. 

In addition to his life-threatening injuries, the car accident victim was now blind.  The heart patient needed to exercise his heart and was given specific instructions by his doctor to get out of bed each morning and walk around the room.  So each morning around 10:45, the heart patient would painfully rise from his bed and walk around the room.  As soon as the  blind roommate heard him up he would ask, "Could you please look out our window and tell me what you see."

The heart patient would slowly walk to the window, pull back the blinds and gaze out the window.  After a few minutes of looking outside, he would begin to relate all the sights he saw outside.  He would describe the birds in the air and animals he saw on the ground.  Then to the delight of his roommate, he would talk about the people he saw walking down the street entering and exiting the various buildings on the street.

One day the heart patient noticed a young man who came outside to eat his lunch in the park.  He sat by a beautiful water fountain not far from an attractive young lady who was also eating her lunch near the fountain.

As the days went on, it seemed the young man sat a little closer to the woman and it was obvious she noticed.  They soon engaged in conversations and often times they'd share bites of their lunches.  From what the heart patient observed, this man and woman were definitely forming a relationship.  Perhaps this couple might fall in love, get married, and enjoy a wonderful life together thought the blind man.
Unexpectedly one night, the heart patient died. His personal possessions were quickly gathered up and removed from the room.  The next morning a new patient with a broken arm was brought in.

As lunch time neared, the blind man asked his new roommate if he would go to the window and describe the events taking place outside.  He particularly wanted to know if the young couple was having lunch by the fountain.  The new roommate jumped out of bed and briskly walked over to the window.  He pulled the blinds back and starred for several seconds then began to laugh uncontrollably.

"Why are you laughing?" asked the blind man. 
"Because you asked me what was going on outside our window.  Our window faces the back side of another building and there is nothing but a solid wall of bricks.  I assure you there is absolutely nothing of interest for you outside our window."