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The Best Lessons from Childhood Fables (That Still Matter as an Adult)

Fables and other moral stories made their way into our books and cartoons when we were kids, but somewhere along the way, we've probably forgotten some of the important lessons they teach. Maybe you've heard these, maybe you haven't, but here are some of the best lessons that you can learn no matter what age you are.

 

The Ants and the Grasshopper: The importance of thinking Ahead

 

The Ants and the Grasshopper: The importance of thinking Ahead

The Story

A team of ants is working hard all summer to prepare for the harsh, cold winter. Meanwhile, a grasshopper spends the entire summer singing, goofing around, and wondering why the ants work so hard.

When the winter comes, the grasshopper has nothing to eat and nearly starves to death (gruesome for a children's story, huh?). The ants save him and he understands why they worked so hard.

The Lesson

Just because you don't need something right now doesn't mean you should put it off. It's okay to take time to enjoy the fun things, but you may not always have the metaphorical ants to save if you.

You don't want to wait until winter to buy a heater, wait until the day of to buy a plane ticket, write that essay the day that it's due, or start saving money too late in life. Think ahead, stop procrastinating, and always be prepared for what's ahead.

The Dog and His Reflection:Be content with what you have

 

The Dog and His Reflection: Be content with what you have

The Story

A dog is heading home after finding a big, juicy bone. On his way home, he happens upon a river and sees his reflection in the water.

He think's he sees another a dog with a bigger, better bone than the one he has so he barks at the "other" dog to try and get his bone too. When he barks, his bone falls out of his mouth and he has to go home with no bone at all.

The Lesson

We always want more than we have, but when you take inventory of your possessions, you might realize that the bone you have is enough. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't strive for bigger and better things, though.

You should just be careful about always wanting more. Eventually you may find that your desire to have your cake and eat it too will lead you to actually having nothing at all.

The Crow and the Pitcher: Don't Give Up When Things Look Bad

 

The Crow and the Pitcher: Don't Give Up When Things Look Bad

The Story

A crow is flying around on an abnormally hot summer day looking for water. He comes across a pitcher of water, but when he tries to stick his beak in he can't reach the water.

He tries and tries, slowly getting more dehydrated. He's about to give up and accept his fate when he has an idea: he drops small pebbles in the pitcher until the water level rises to the point where he can reach it.

The Lesson

Where there's a will, there's a way. Persistence is the key to solving any problem you have because eventually—even if the situation seems dire—you WILL find a solution.

Your idea might not be as bad as you think it is, and is just in need of some iteration. Whatever it is that you want to do, just keep plugging away. As Wayne Gretzky once said: you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Belling the Cat: Execution is more important than Ideas

 

Belling the Cat: Execution is more important than Ideas

The Story

A family of mice is living in fear of a cat that hunts them all day and night. Tired of fearing for their lives every second, they decide to try and think up a plan to help their situation. After some time, one of the younger mice comes up with a brilliant idea.

The mouse suggests that they tie a bell around the cat's neck, so they can hear it approach and always be able to hide in time. All the mice agree, except one: the oldest, wisest mouse. The old mouse agrees that it's a good plan in theory, but asks "who will be the one to bell the cat?"

The Lesson

Ideas are essential to solving problems, but even more essential is knowing how to execute the idea. You know that to get into a locked house, you need a key, but without the key it's irrelevant. When you cook up your ideas, either for work or something else, always know how it can be executed before you present it.

If you don't have a good way to execute your idea, it's okay to ask for advice, but never boast about your idea until it's truly ready for prime time.

 

 
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