Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Mango Lover

   Once there was a man who liked to eat mangoes. One day he decided to get the sweetest mango—the one from the very top of the tree. (Mangoes that are exposed to the sun are the sweetest.) So the man climbed to the top. The branches thinned as he climbed, but he managed to pick a few red fruit.

  When he began to climb down, however, the man slipped and fell. Fortunately, he was able to catch a branch as he was falling, but he remained helplessly suspended from the tree.

 He called to the nearby villagers for help. Although the villagers brought their ladders, their ladders were too short. They could do little to help him.

 After some time, a calm and thoughtful person arrived—a well-known sage who lived in a simple hut nearby. People were curious to see what he would do, as he was famous for solving even the most complicated problems.

 The sage remained silent for a moment, and then, to everyone’s surprise, he picked up a stone and threw it at the hanging man. The mango lover began to shout:“Are you crazy?! Do you want me to break my neck?” But the sage did not respond. Instead, he took another stone and threw it at the man. The man became furious: “If I could get down there, I would whip you!”

 That’s what everybody wanted—for him to come down. But how? Everyone grew tense about what would happen next. Some villagers wanted to chastize the sage, but they didn’t.

Then the sage picked up another stone and hurled it even more forcefully at the man. After that, the man hanging in the tree became enraged and determined to come down and take revenge. He used all his skill and strength to somehow reach safe branches and climb down. Everyone was amazed.

 Upon safely reaching the ground the man exclaimed, “Where is that sage? Oh, what a wise man he is! He didn’t wait around for me to beat him!”

“But wait a minute,” a villager said. “The sage is the only one who could help you. He provoked you and pushed you to help yourself.”

 The mango lover thought for a moment and admitted that, yes, all the villagers’ good intentions and compassion could not help him, but the sage had expertly induced him to make his best effort and to save himself. “I should be thankful, not angry.”

 This is an instructive story about leadership. Although sometimes strong in his or her dealings, a real leader makes us take the initiative to give our best.

 We have to give our best if we want extraordinary results. The best leader makes others into leaders themselves by pushing them to take responsibility for their lives.

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