Earlier this week, I was reminded of Aesop’s fable, The Oak and the Reeds. During a training, I asked the group, “Is there anyone who likes to be right, besides me?” I wanted to make the point that we can sometimes get so focused on our way being the right way, that we miss opportunities to create connections with people on our team. At break, a participant reminded me of the fable. In case you don’t remember, here it is:
A Giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song.
“You have reason to complain,” said the Oak. “The slightest breeze that ruffles the surface of the water makes you bow your heads, while I, the mighty Oak, stand upright and firm before the howling tempest.”
“Do not worry about us,” replied the Reeds. “The winds do not harm us. We bow before them and so we do not break. You, in all your pride and strength, have so far resisted their blows. But the end is coming.”
As the Reeds spoke, a great hurricane rushed out of the north. The Oak stood proudly and fought against the storm, while the yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the pitying Reeds.
The lesson according to Aesop is –
Better to yield when it is folly to resist, than to resist stubbornly and be destroyed.
How often do we stubbornly cling to our ideas when, if we gave just a little, the outcome for all would be improved? Post your examples here; I’d love to hear them.