A Froggy Fable
What can we learn from a couple of frogs? Could be a lesson profound in its simplicity, the kind easy to bypass on our journeys toward happiness and success in health, wealth, relationships, productivity and purpose.
As the story goes, two frogs hopped into a pail of fresh milk. Boy, were they ever in hog heaven! Or froggy heaven, I reckon. They drank and drank, croaking the praises of their good fortune to find such a treat. Feasting was fun, but soon their minds turned to their lily pads and how long it would take to get there with such full tummies. Harsh reality set in. There was nothing to give them solid footing to hop out of the bucket, and the sides of the pail were too slick and steep to climb up to the rim. Problem.
Slowly they swam in circles brainstorming ways to escape. Froggy 1 was a pessimistic amphibian. He began swimming slower and slower, convincing himself in thoughts and words that there was no way out. Despite the encouragement and pleas from Froggy 2, he gave up, sank to the bottom and drowned in the very milk he had feasted on earlier. Froggy 2 was sad, but he had to keep afloat, so he kept swimming. # 2 was am optimist; he realized not finding a quick solution didn’t mean it didn’t exist. All he knew to do was to continue swimming around and around the pail. About the time complete exhaustion was setting in, and his little legs could hardly paddle, he realized he could stand on top of the…butter! It was as if he had experienced a miracle or a great stroke of good luck, when in reality, he was experiencing the benefits of a small action performed consistently. It was all he knew to do, and he did it with gusto. Happiness and success followed.
Credit goes to author Jeff Olson, who recounts this frog fable in his book The Slight Edge. Throughout the book he explains that most happy, successful folks are that way because they emulate Froggy 2 in their daily habits, not focusing on past failures, but focusing on the tasks at hand and planning for the future with an upbeat heart. Current brain studies reveal that happiness is a predictor of success, not the other way around. These happy folks keep learning, practice common sense and find good role models to hang out with. Olson writes that we are the combined average of the 5 people we are around the most. The proof is in the way we walk, talk, think and dress.
Ha! I can see some readers now, peering over the top of the Prospect-News, looking at what their pals are wearing, listening to their jabber, watching them walk toward the door, and wondering…hmm, do I look/sound like Joe or Suzie over there? Maybe time to get some new associates.
Mark Twain said, “ The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that aren’t so.” Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge dispels some of the misinformation about happiness and success. It’s a fun read, startling in the insights shared, and motivating. It’s not what we decide to do that matters; it’s what we actually do.
This first appeared in a September 2015 issue of my hometown paper, The Prospect-News.