Story No. 61 – A lesson from a frog tale
A group of frogs were hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business,
when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what
could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, the rest of the
dismayed group agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should
prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead.
Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of
the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn’t be in that
situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible.
The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up,
since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping as hard as they could,
and after several hours of desperate effort were quite weary.
Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellows. Spent and disheartened, he quietly
resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died as the others looked on in
helpless grief. The other frog continued to jump with every ounce of energy he had, although his
body was wracked with pain and he was completely exhausted.
His companions began a new, yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die.
The weary frog jumped harder and harder and – wonder of wonders! Finally leapt so high that he
sprang from the pit. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his
miraculous freedom and then gathering around him asked,
“Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was
impossible?” Reading their lips, the astonished frog
explained to them that he was deaf, and that when he saw
their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering
him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired
him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.
This simple story contains a powerful lesson. Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help
him or her make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds; they may be
the weapons that destroy someone’s desire to continue trying – or even their life. Your destructive,
careless word can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting
impact on the way others respond to them.
WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH?
Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of
one 10-year-old boy who decided to study Judo despite the fact that he
had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese Judo Master Sensei.
The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three
months of training the master had taught him only one move.
“Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”
“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,”
the Sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the Sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy
easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time,
his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match.
Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared
to be over matched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out.
He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.
“No,” the Sensei insisted, “Let him continue.”
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard.
Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.
He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy and Sensei reviewed every move in each and every match.
Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the Sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most
difficult throws in all of Judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your
opponent to grab your left arm.”
The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.