Perhaps you missed this from the first time I shared my favorite passage from the children’s book The Veleteen Rabbit (it’s worth the re-run). The passage is a conversation between the Velveteen Rabbit and the wise, old Skin Horse while they were lying side by side in the nursery:
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
God bless inclusiveness, love and diversity. What’s your legacy? Do you have a favorite children’s book passage that still proves powerful?
I had lunch last week with one of my mentors and friends who shared with me the power and meaning he has taken back in his life by making some decisions he had been putting off. It was inspiring to witness the renewed energy, vitality, and clarity in which he spoke as he shared his plans to better serve himself and others by sharing his many gifts with the world.
As we spoke, I was reminded of a powerful story I heard during one of the conference sessions I recently attended in Orlando, FL.
High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man.
Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to psychically tell the villagers the contents in their pockets, boxes, or minds.
A few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities.
One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his hands was a bird.
The boy devised a plan.
Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead.
But, If the wise man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So no matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.
The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, “Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?”
The wise old man said, “You have a bird, my son.” And he was right.
The boy then asked, “Old man, old man, tell me: Is the bird alive or is it dead?”
The wise old man looked at the boy, thought for a moment and said, “The bird is as you choose it to be. It’s destiny is in your hands.”
Why am I sharing this with you, and what’s the moral of the story, you ask? The power, destiny and direction of our lives is in our own hands. What will you do with the God-given gifts you possess?
Does this story resonate with you and your life? If so, I’d love to hear how.
Thanks go out to my freakishly talented friend, artist and humorist, Darrell Fusaro for his illustration.
I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.
I seek opportunity—not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk,
to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence:
the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade my freedom for beneficence,
nor my dignity for a handout.
I will never cower before any earthly master
nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and
unafraid: to think and act for myself,
to enjoy the benefit of my creations
and to face the world boldly and say:
“This, with God’s help I have done.”
All this is what it means to be an entrepreneur.