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  • Seal with a Pen

Something Mundane

Over two thousand years ago, a slave of Ancient Greece, named Aesop, recited the following:

“Away with you, vile insect!” said a Lion angrily to a Gnat that was buzzing around his head. But the Gnat was not in the least disturbed.

“Do you think,” he said spitefully to the Lion, “that I am afraid of you because they call you king?”

The next instant he flew at the Lion and stung him sharply on the nose. Mad with rage, the Lion struck fiercely at the Gnat, but only succeeded in tearing himself with his claws. Again and again the Gnat stung the Lion, who now was roaring terribly. At last, worn out with rage and covered with wounds that his own teeth and claws had made, the Lion gave up the fight.

The Gnat buzzed away to tell the whole world about his victory, but instead he flew straight into a spider's web. And there, he who had defeated the King of beasts came to a miserable end, the prey of a little spider.

The least of our enemies is often the most to be feared.

Pride over a success should not throw us off our guard.

Credit: Library of Congress

I had planned to use this wisdom for a specific purpose today, but as I read, my mind took something entirely different away from it. Being the lion will not save you from the gnat. In the metaphorical world, the spider is who “wins.”

In a bigger sense, though, everyone will face wins and losses in their life. While it is tempting to attach yourself to a “greater cause,” especially politically, control yourself first. When the success of your goals is based on the choices of others (e.g. politics), even if you work hard, your goals may still fail. Accept this; do not seek to destroy others’ goals in favor of your own. It is always tempting to assume that others are wrong and we are right, when in fact, all of our understandings are flawed. Make your goals personal, and in collaboration you will find success. From something personal, and something mundane, comes true change.

-- Seal with a Pen

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