When I was growing up, I was incredibly fortunate that my parents exposed me to many environments and experiences that greatly contributed to my life lessons. One of the many tremendously beneficial experiences was when my mother brought me along with her to a conference to listen to the late Jim Rohn speak. Mr. Rohn shared his overall philosophy on life as well as advice for achieving goals and becoming a better person.
I was a young teenager. She was a single mother.
At the time, our family had very limited financial resources. To say it simply, we had no money. My mother worked a job, attended the university, and was self-employed during the rest of the hours left in the day. She had three teenage children. She worked hard but more importantly, she made very hard, but very good decisions. While our refrigerator was almost empty, she decided that it was worth the cost of admission to absorb to a great attitude and philosophy on life. The benefits were not intended solely for her but also for her children. Even as a teenager, I understood that if my mother felt strongly about something, it was always worth consideration.
During that weekend seminar, I absorbed many ideas and thoughts about attitude and philosophy that would impact me for decades to come. I will share just a little story that still helps me accept certain behaviors that would otherwise be completely foreign to my expectations and understanding.
In recent times, I have experienced hurtful and unexpected behaviors from others around me. At times, I was taken back in shock, with a naive voice in my mind asking, “Why would somebody do that?”
I then remember the story of the Frog and the Scorpion that Jim Rohn shared. Here is a paraphrased version of the story:
A frog and a scorpion were alongside a river looking to the other side. The frog was about to swim across when the scorpion noticed him and started some dialogue:
Scorpion:” Hello Mr. Frog, it looks like you are going to swim across the river to get to the other side?”
Frog: “Yes, that is correct. Why are you asking?”
Scorpion: “Well, Mr. Frog, I am glad you asked. I was hoping that you would give me a ride to the other side. Since I am a scorpion and cannot swim, I need your help to get me there. Would you be so kind to allow me to hang on your back while you swim across? I would be very grateful.”
Frog: “Are you serious? There is no way! You are a scorpion. Scorpions sting frogs and kill them. If I were to allow you to hang on my back, you would sting me while I was swimming and I would surely die!”
Scorpion: “Really? Mr. Frog, your frog brain is not thinking correctly. If I were to sting you while we were crossing the river, sure, you would die but then so would I. I am a scorpion and scorpions cannot swim. That would be foolish. I just want to get to the other side.”
Frog: “Hmmm. That makes sense. Okay hold on, let’s cross the river”.
As the story goes, the scorpion held on to the frog and they headed on their way to cross the river together. Then, about halfway across the river, the scorpion actually stung the frog! The frog was completely flabbergasted in disbelief of the scorpion’s actions! The frog struggled to stay afloat while he felt the result of the scorpion’s fatal sting. They both started to sink as the frog attempted to keep them both above the water. After making it back up to the surface a third, and probably last time, their dialogue continued:
Frog: “OMG! Why would you do that! I am about to die now- but so are you! You cannot swim! Now we both will die! Why, why would you do that?”
Scorpion: “I am a scorpion.”
Know the Scorpion.
Expect thunder with lightning.
Looking away from the stinger,
Does not stop the sting.
See. Recognize. Anticipate.