Success and Failure

The Sculpting Competition

Long ago, in a distant land, there lived two sculptors named Raja and Ramu. One day they each received a Royal proclamation inviting them to take part in a sculpting competition to be held at the Royal Gardens. Both Raja and Ramu were extremely excited by this opportunity and immediately started preparing for the seven day journey.

Raja set out on a bright Monday morning with his chisels and hammers packed in the back of his horse-drawn cart. At the end of his first day of travelling, he made camp in a clearing by the side of the road. After a simple meal, Raja noticed a large rock on the edge of the clearing and decided to get in some practice for the upcoming sculpting competition. He took out his tools and began to chisel away at the rock. Several hours later, Raja stood back to look at his sculpture. It was a statue of the Princess Rebecca, but while he was reasonably happy with his attempt, Raja realized that the statue's hands were too big. He made a mental note to be careful of this in the future and went to sleep.

The next morning, Raja continued on his way leaving his statue of Princess Rebecca by the side of the clearing. At the end of his second day, Raja found another rock to practice on and created another sculpture of the Princess. This time he got her hands right but made her legs too short. He made a mental note on how to improve next time and moved on. Raja continued this pattern throughout his journey. Each night he found a rock to practice on, created a sculpture of Princess Rebecca, made note on how he could improve and then moved on the following morning leaving the sculpture where he created it.

By the time Raja reached the Royal Gardens he had made seven practice sculptures that were each a little bit better than the one before. On the day of the competition, Raja created his best sculpture ever and to his delight, he was awarded the coveted 'Golden Hammer' award which was presented by Princess Rebecca herself. Now you may be wondering what happened to the other sculptor, Ramu, so let me tell you his side of the story…

Ramu also set out on the seven day journey to the Royal Gardens to compete in the sculpting competition. Like Raja, Ramu made camp on the first night and found a large rock to practice on. He too created a statue of the Princess Rebecca but found that he made her feet too big. Ramu was angry at himself for making this mistake and the next morning he heaved the statue onto the back of his cart so that he could study his mistake later. At the end of his second day of travelling, Ramu found another rock to practice on and created another statue. This time he forgot to include the princesses head dress and he became furious at his mistake. The next morning, he heaved the statue onto the back of his cart and continued slowly on his journey. Each night Ramu repeated this same pattern. He created a statue, became angry with himself when he made a mistake and then loaded the statue onto his cart before moving on.

On the seventh day, Ramu woke up early and prepared for the final leg of his journey, but when he prompted his horse to get underway, the poor animal strained at his harness but could not move an inch. Ramu jumped down from his seat and went to the back of his cart. There he found all seven practice statues of the Princess Rebecca which were weighing the cart down and making it impossible to move. Ramu complained bitterly as he looked over the statues in detail - too big, too short, too tall…the list of mistakes went on and on. The unhappy sculptor sat down on a tree stump and continued to stare at his statues for hours, and as a result, he never made it to the Royal Gardens to compete in the competition.

This simple story illustrates an important lesson that can often be the difference between success and failure. The statues in the story represent the mistakes that we all make in life. The difference between Raja and Ramu was the way in which they responded to their mistakes. When Raja made a practice statue he made a mental note of any problems and then he left his mistake where he made it and continued on his journey. As a result, he gradually developed his skills and eventually achieved his ultimate objective. Ramu on the other hand approached his mistakes in a different fashion. Each time he made a statue, he loaded it onto his cart and took it with him. Each day his cart became heavier and heavier until eventually it would not move at all. Instead of leaving his mistakes where he made them, Ramu carried the weight of his mistakes with him and the weight of these past mistakes eventually prevented him from reaching his real objective. On your journey to success, understand that you too will make mistakes. Some small, some big. Each time you make a mistake you have a choice. You can either learn from your mistake and move on like Raja, or you can carry your mistake with you like Ramu. The danger in harboring regret and continually analyzing your past mistakes is that, like Ramu, you can eventually get stuck and can jeopardize the achievements that are waiting for you in your future.

Today I'd like to encourage you to reflect on the story of Raja and Ramu and make the decision to leave your mistakes where you make them. In this way, you'll be able to learn from your mistakes but will still be able to move forward to achieve your ultimate objective.

Live the Life to the fullest.. Right Here, Right now.

Charlie Badenhop is the originator of Seishindo, an Aikido instructor, NLP trainer, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapist. I am sharing with you one of his thoughts from his newsletter, "Pure Heart, Simple Mind".

Do you have the feeling you're fully appreciating your life RIGHT NOW, or are you somehow failing to treasure the richness of all you have in the moment? Living a life of gratitude is a challenge that I think most all of us face.

Three years ago the eight year old daughter of a friend died in a freak accident at school. My friend was devastated and I could not think of any wise words that might console him. As the weeks rolled by my friend slipped into an ever deeper sense of despair, and nothing anyone said seemed to lift his spirit.

After a few months time he went out of town on a business trip, and on the train ride back home he engaged in a conversation with the woman sitting next to him. The woman sat there and nodded her head often as my friend talked about the death of his daughter. He reported to me that he had the sense of talking and talking and talking, until he finally felt like he had nothing more to say.

As my friend came to a natural state of rest, the woman nodded her head one more time as she took a deep breath, and then said the following, "I can very much feel your pain, and I understand that the loss of your child must be devastating.

At the same time," she said, "I wonder if your pain would not be lessened if you celebrated the life of your daughter."You told me about your daughter's sense of awe the first time you took her to the ocean, and how you carried her in your arms as you waded out into the water. You also spoke about the many times she sat on your lap and told you about the magical adventures she had during the course of her day. Perhaps the sweetest story you shared was how you told your daughter every night how much you loved her as you tucked her into bed."I am wondering," the woman said, "What is it that leads you to believe that you and your daughter did not live a glorious fulfilling life together? Is it because she died at eight years old and not at eighty? Certainly it would seem that the quality of one's life is not tied to the length of one's life. I would suggest that you and your daughter did perhaps live a full and complete life together. She just didn't live as long as you had hoped for and expected."As the train neared the station the woman continued speaking, "I am fifty two years old, and in looking back on my life I don't feel I have shared with anyone, the depth of experience and love you and your daughter had together. On one hand this makes me deeply sad. On the other hand, it helps me to realize that with the time I have left, I can indeed strive to live a complete and fulfilling life. This is the realization that your experience has helped me to understand, and for this wonderful gift I thank you deeply."The woman smiled as she stood up, preparing to exit the train.

"None of us know how long we have to live. We don't seem to have all that much control over the length of our life. The quality of our life on the other hand, we can indeed ensure on a daily basis. It is never too soon to begin to enjoy and fully appreciate the life we do have, right here and now."