Once upon a time…
Many hundreds of years ago, in a tiny Italian village, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a creepy, nasty, unattractive man. His eyes scowled out of their sockets with an ice-cold look of complete detachment. “Your daughter is Maria, is she not?” he inquired.
“Yes sir,” replied the businessman.
The loan-shark’s lips carved into a deranged smirk. Gleaming, he decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. “We’ll call it a game of chance and daring!” he announced. “We’ll put two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. Maria can reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If the pebble is white, the debt will be wiped, and you will both be free to go. If the pebble is black, the debt will be wiped, but Maria will become my bride on the next full Moon Mwahahahahaahaaaa”
The next day, Maria and her father met the loan shark on the pebbled pathway. His back was crooked like that of an old bent tree. His eyes were bloodshot red and he watched her every move, edging towards Maria like a lion before its’ prey.
The loan-shark bent down and picked up two pebbles. Whilst he was picking them up, Maria noticed that he picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He leaned over and snarled into her face “reach in my dear and pick one, our future awaits!”
At this point Maria had three choices as to what she could do:
- Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
- Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
- Pick a pebble from the bag knowing it would be black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.
Maria took a deep breath, drawing a pebble out from the bag and, before looking at it, she ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles on the path.
Quickly she said to the loan-shark; “Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”
The pebble left in the bag was obviously black and, seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he played along as if the pebble Maria dropped was white. Defeated, the loan-shark went ahead and cleared her father’s debt.
“If an enemy offers you two options, surprise him with your third one, and end the feud with the fourth one.”
Moral of the Story:
Thinking outside of the box keeps you from suffocating inside of one. Do not give in to the only options you think you have to pick from. Do not limit yourself to old or set patterns of thinking about any problems at hand. When faced with a choice, let your imagination run riot. Throw out the rule book. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I did this and that together?” It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation by realising you have other options.
Whenever you are given two choices, look out for the third option. Many options are not transparent. They need to be explored and evaluated with care. What you see is not always what you get. The greater the volume of thoughts you have to work with, the better the context you can create for developing options and trusting your choices. We must dare to think ‘unthinkable’ thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world.
“It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.”
— Kristin Armstrong
Affirmation: I have unlimited options and I am completely free to choose the direction of all my thoughts.
All my choices are in agreement with my desires. As I choose my thoughts, I choose my life. Each day I choose to see things from the most optimistic perspective. Each decision I make presents wondrous new possibilities and options. Every day I have the option to make choices that support my well-being. Every moment of my life is full of choices. I accept the decisions of others, and realise that it is their right to make their own choices. I always choose the bolder option. I always have the choice to re-create my reality. I always have the freedom to choose. I always know what my options are. I am always free to change the way things are. I am so grateful for the many choices I have in my life.
“Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.”
— Simon Sinek