One day, a guy calls up his Boss at home, but gets the bosses’ wife instead.
She said, “I’m sorry, but he died last week.”
The next day, the man calls up again and asks for his boss.
She said, “I told you, he died last week.”
The third day, the guy calls up again and asks for his boss.
The wife was mad and shouted, “Don’t you understand? I already told you twice—MY HUSBAND, YOUR BOSS, DIED LAST WEEK! Why do you keep on calling?”
The guy laughed and said, “Because I just love hearing it…”
Are You Stuck In Life?
Many people are like this guy: They wait for the boss to die.
He clearly hated his boss. So why didn’t he do something about it? He could have confronted the boss. He could have changed jobs.
Many people are stuck but they wait for things to change on their own.
Don’t wait for the boss to die on you—whatever “boss” means to you.
If you want your life to change, then you have to change.
Today, I want to share two fascinating stories to you.
The first one is a story emailed to me by friends about 273+ times already.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. But I’m sure you have this charming parable in your email inbox too.
If you know this tale, then skip it, and read my brilliant, profound, and luminous analysis after the story. (At least, that’s what my mother says, and you can’t argue with my mother.)
If you haven’t read it yet, then enjoy. Here it goes…
The Businessman And The Fisherman
One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf.
He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.
About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.
“You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman to the fisherman, “you should be working rather than lying on the beach!”
The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”
“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat which will then result in larger catches of fish!”
“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.
The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions.
“You can buy a bigger boat and hire some people to work for you!” he said.
“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.
The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”
Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”
The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”
The fisherman, still smiling, simply looked up, nodded and said: “And what do you think I am doing now?”
The Greatest Joy Of Life
Lovely story, right?
But may I poke a giant hole in this lovely story?
Think with me. If the fisherman decided to expand and “complicate” his life by setting up a large fishing business, wouldn’t he have been able to give jobs, feed their families, and serve many customers?
I believe the biggest question of life isn’t “Who had the most fun?”
The biggest question of life is “Who loved the most?”
Being content with where you are is fantastic.
But growth, if required by love, is fantastic too.
At the end of the day, contentment and growth are important, but not the most important values. Love is!
This will solve this next problem…
Be Content and Desire Growth,
At The Same Time?
This is absurd.
But this tension in fact is one of the secrets to extreme happiness.
You must learn to be content with what you have, and say “Thank You” often, and take time to celebrate and throw a party. Yet at the next breath, desire for better things, strive for higher summits, and embrace change.
How is that possible?
Love is the answer.
Now, let me tell you my second fascinating story.
I’m sure you haven’t read this story before.
Why? Because I wrote 75% of it. Haha.
Okay, read and enjoy!
The Stream And The Wind
One day, the Stream stared at the desert—and sighed a deep sigh.
He knew he was stuck. How could he cross this giant desert?
So the Stream talked to the Wind.
“Mr. Wind, I need your advice. I want to cross this gigantic desert. But if I throw myself to it, the sand will absorb me and I will be no more…”
“That is true,” the Wind thought deeply.
“So what should I do? You see, I have a dream. I want to grow. I want more fish to make their home in me. I want more trees to plant their roots on my shoulders. I want happy families to have picnics on my banks. I want to bless the world with great love.”
The Wind smiled, “I can help you. I can absorb you and carry you through this desert.”
The Stream was stunned. He said, “Isn’t that terrifying? What does that mean that you will absorb me?”
“That means that you’ll become a cloud and I’ll carry you to the other side of the desert. Once there, you’ll become rain and you can become a stream again.”
“I’ll change my form? I’ll no longer be me?”
No One Can Resist Change
“Mr. Stream, you have three choices. Your first choice is to give up your dream and stay where you are.
The Stream said, “Out of the question. My dream of love pushes me to grow.”
“Your second choice,” said the Wind, “is to cross the desert without changing anything. To dream and yet to prevent the dream from changing you.”
“And what is my third choice?”
“To dream and embrace change,” the Wind smiled.
“Carry me, Mr. Wind. I’m ready!” the Stream laughed.
Be Comfortable With Chaos
Immediately, the Wind rushed down and blew hard on the Stream. Bits and pieces of the Stream began to swirl upwards. It was terrifying. Chaos ruled!
For a moment, the Stream was gripped by the clutches of fear again.
So the Wind shouted through the chaos, “Who are you? You’re not a Stream. You’re Water! Your essence is not your form. When you know who you really are, you can be comfortable amidst the chaos. Because deep within you, you know that nothing will ever change.”
Water said, “But I am still afraid!”
“Love who you are and love your dream. Love the fish who will live in you, the trees who will be planted on your shoulders, and the families who will have picnics on your banks. And love will push all your fear away.”
Finally, at the other side of the desert, the falling rain collected itself into a Stream again. When he was complete, he said, “Mr. Wind, I don’t know how to thank you. You changed me.”
The Wind smiled, “No, my friend. Only love can change you.”
What Is Your Path?
So what is your dream of love?
Like the Stream, you too have three choices…
Choice #1: Play Small
One day, a woman came up to me complaining about her husband.
“He’s not had a job for the past 6 years. I’m earning for the family,” she said.
“What is he doing at home?” I asked.
“Praying and reading the Bible. And reading your books!”
So I talked to him. The first thing he said was, “Bo, I love your books. Especially on simplicity. I’m now living the simple life. I’m so content with my life. That’s what you wrote about, right?”
For a moment, I wondered if I indeed wrote about it!
He then said something profound. “You see Bo, I’m now at this stage in my life where I’d rather be poor and close to God than be rich and far from God.”
Touching, right? Makes you want to cry.
If only it didn’t come from a husband and father who hasn’t had a job for 6 years.
For him, life was black and white. If you’re poor, you’re close to God. If you’re rich, you’re from God. It never occurred to him that it’s possible to be rich and close to God.
A poor fisherman fishing enough for his family is lovely. Simple. Comfortable. Peaceful. But here’s a question: In the off chance that God gave him the resources to grow and the chance to feed more people, shouldn’t he take it?
If you play small because love requires you to play small, then fine!
But if you play small because of fear, you’ll never be happy.
Choice #2: Dream Big But Remain Unchanged
There are two types of innovations.
Sustaining Innovations and Disrupting Innovations.
Let’s say you own a skateboard.
And your dream is to travel farther and faster.
Sustaining Innovations means you’ll improve your skateboard.
Perhaps you put more oil.
Perhaps you make the board more aerodynamic.
Perhaps you transform the material to high-grade flexible plastic.
Perhaps you change the wheels to titanium alloy.
Perhaps you take skateboarding lessons from the masters of skateboarding.
Disrupting Innovations are totally different.
Here you ask the dangerous question, “If I can change anything in my life, what will I change so I can reach my dream?”
Disrupting Innovations means throwing away the skateboard and getting a 3000 cc Harley Davidson motorcycle!
Disrupting Innovating believes that what took you to where you are now may not take you to where you want to go.
When people talk about change, they usually talk about Sustaining Innovations, not Disrupting Innovations.
Don’t get me wrong. Sustaining Innovations are crucial. We need to make them everyday. But they’re not enough. Especially if you have Big Dreams.
Because Big Dreams require that you embrace Big Changes—another word for Disrupting Innovations.
That leads us to the third choice…
Choice #3: Dream Big and Embrace Big Changes
I’ve noticed that people who can embrace big changes are those who know who they are apart from their job titles, positions, reputations, and labels. They know the difference between essence and form.
My spiritual family, Light of Jesus, is going through a Disrupting Innovation now. As we approach our 30th anniversary next year, we’re throwing away the skateboard and building ourselves not a motorcycle but a spaceship!
Because of our dream of discipling 100,000 by 2020, we’re now overhauling our structure, our meetings, our styles—almost everything we cherished and held dear to us. Nothing is untouchable.
Oh believe me, it’s unbelievably chaotic! Like a storm passing through us.
But I’m so happy that most of our leaders and members are going through the chaos with peace. Because they know their essence: they’re people who love God and love others. That will never change.
Hey, It’s Your Turn
Look at your life now.
1. Out of these 3 choices, what choice have you taken?
2. If you can change anything in your life to reach your dream, what will it be?
3. Are there Disrupting Innovations you’ve been putting aside?
Your answers to these questions will determine your destiny.
May your dreams come true,
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