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A man stood at the base of the mountain and looked up.

He knew that he must ascend to the top, but from his vantage point he couldn’t identify a path that would take him all the way.

All that he could see was a starting point that led gradually upwards.

“Is this the right path?” he wondered. “I wish I could see where it ends.”

He pondered his options for a moment, shrugged his shoulders and started walking.

As he walked, more of the path revealed itself.

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11-time NBA championship winning coach, Phil Jackson tells the story of a young prince who was sent by his father to study how to become a good ruler with a great Chinese master.

The first assignment that the master gave him was to spend a year in the forest alone.

When the prince returned, the master asked him to describe what he had heard.  He replied, “I could hear the cuckoos sing, the leaves rustle, the hummingbirds hum, the grass blow, the bees buzz, the crickets chirp and the wind whisper and holler.”

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Stephen Covey used to tell an old story about a samurai warrior who had three sons.

He wanted to teach them the value of teamwork, so he gave them each an arrow and asked them to break it.

They did this with ease.

Then he gave them a bundle of three arrows that were tied together and asked them to repeat the process.

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This story has been doing the rounds recently.  It has been attributed to a few people, so I don’t know the exact origins, but I just had to share it:

Sometimes, I just want it to stop.

Talk of COVID, looting, brutality.

I lose my way.

I become convinced that this “new normal” is real life.

Then I meet an 87-year-old who talks of living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam protests and yet is still enchanted with life.

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In his timeless classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie tells the fable of the sun and the wind.

The quarreled about which was the stronger, and the wind said, “I’ll prove I am.  See the old man down there with a coat?  I bet I can get his coat off him quicker than you can.”

So the sun went behind a cloud, and the wind blew until it was almost a tornado, but the harder it blew, the tighter the old man clutched his coat to him.

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A snake entered a carpentry shop, and as it crawled to the corner, it went past a saw and was scratched a little bit.

Alarmed by the pain, it turned around and bit the saw, cutting himself badly in the mouth.

Then, thinking that saw was attacking him, he decided to roll around the saw to suffocate it with his whole body.

As he squeezed, the saw cut deeper, leading the snake to get angrier and squeeze harder, until eventually, the snake died from its self-inflicted wounds.

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A young eagle was about to graduate from his nest, when he saw a large pig running around in the forest below.

“Ooh, that looks yummy,” he said.

“No dear,” his mum said, “you’re not ready to hunt something so big yet.  Start with mice.”

Being a good lad, the young eagle listened to his mum and learned how to hunt mice proficiently.

Then his mind began to wander towards his original goal of catching pigs again.

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A mother camel and her baby were lying around under a tree.

The baby camel asked, “Why do camels have humps?”

The mother camel considered this and said, “We are desert animals so we have the humps to store water so we can survive for a long time without needing to drink.”

The baby camel thought for a moment then said, “OK, why are our legs long and our feet round?”

The mother replied, “They are suited for walking long distances in the desert.”

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A man joined a monastery where the monks were only allowed to speak two words every five years.

At the end of five years they were given an audience and said their two words.

At the end of his first five years, the novice simply said, “Bed hard.”

At the end of the tenth year, he said, “Food bad.”

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Iconic writer, speaker and management guru Tom Peters tells this story in his wonderful new book, The Excellence Dividend:

A man approached J. P. Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”

“Sir,” J. P. Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope; however, if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”

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