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The Man Who Sat Around All Day And Did Nothing

Once there was a man who sat around all day and did nothing. One day he was sitting outside and a bird came and perched on the fence next to him. The bird asked the man, "Why do you always sit around all day and do nothing?" The man replied, "I'm a failure. I mess up everything I try to do. So, since I can't do anything right, I don't do anything at all."

The bird asked, "If there was something you knew you couldn't fail at, would you be willing to give it a try?"

"Sure," said the man. "But what could there possibly be that I could do without failing at it?"

"Here's what you do," said the bird. "First, think of three things you'd really like to be able to do. Then, try to do the first one. If you fail, take a sheet of paper, write what the thing was that you tried to do, and next to it write the words, 'I can't do this.'"

"Then try the second thing. If you fail at that also, take your sheet of paper, and write what the thing was that you tried to do, and next to it write the words, 'I can't do that.'"

"Then try the third thing. If you also fail at this, take your sheet of paper one more time and write what the thing was that you tried to do and next to it write the words, 'I can't do this either.'" Then hang the sheet of paper on this fence, where you'll see it each day when you sit in your chair. Do you think you can do this?"

"Well," said the man, "It sounds like all I have to do is fail, and I'm good at failing. So I guess I could do that."

"Then go do it!" said the bird, and he flew away.

The man decided he'd do what the bird had suggested. So he thought for a few minutes until he thought of three things that he'd really like to be able to do. Then he got up from his chair and went to do them.

The man tried to do the first thing, and he failed. So he took a sheet of paper, and he wrote what the thing was, and next to it he wrote the words, "I can't do this."

Then the man tried to do the second thing, and he failed again. So he took the sheet of paper, and he wrote what the thing was, and next to it he wrote the words, "I can't do that."

Then the man tried to do the third thing, and again he failed, as he had expected. So he took the sheet of paper, and he wrote what the thing was, and next to it he wrote the words, "I can't do this either."

Then the man hung the sheet of paper on the fence, and he sat down and waited for the bird to come back so he could tell him all about how he had failed again.

The man sat there for the rest of the day, but the bird didn't come back. So the man took one last look at the sheet of paper, then he went inside and went to bed.

The next morning, the man went outside, and sat in his chair. He looked at the sheet of paper hanging on the fence. He read about the three things he'd really like to do, and he read that he couldn't do them. Then he waited for the bird to come back. He waited all day, but the bird didn't come back at all. So the man went inside and went to bed.

The next morning, the man again went outside, and sat in his chair. He again looked at the sheet of paper hanging on the fence. He again read about the three things he'd really like to do, and he read that he couldn't do them. Then, like the day before, he waited for the bird to come back. And again, he waited all day, but the bird didn't come back at all. So the man went inside and went to bed.

Each day the man would go outside, sit in his chair, and look at the sheet of paper hanging on the fence. Each day he'd read about the three things he'd really like to do, and he'd read that he couldn't do them. And each day he'd wait for the bird to come back. And as he waited for the bird to come back, he'd think about the three things he'd really like to do. And he'd think about how the sheet of paper said he couldn't do them. One day as he thought about this he began to get irritated. He said to himself, "What right does this sheet of paper have to tell me what I can and cannot do?" So the man got up from his chair, took the sheet of paper, and went to try the things again.

The man tried to do the first thing, and he failed. But this time the man said to himself, "Who said that I can only try to do this one time?" So the man tried to do it again, and he failed again. And he tried it over and over, and he failed again and again. But then, after he had tried it many times, he tried it one more time... and he finally succeeded! He did it right! The man was so excited he jumped up and down and shouted, "I did it! I did it!". Then he took the sheet of paper, and next to the first item, he scratched out the words, "I can't do this," and in big letters he wrote, "I CAN DO THIS"

Then the man said to himself, "If I was able to do the first thing, maybe I could do the second thing too." So he tried to do the second thing, and he failed. But the man remembered that when he had tried to do the first thing many times he finally got it right. So he tried the second thing again, and he failed again. And he tried many more times, and he failed many more times. But then, he tried it one more time and he succeeded! He had managed to do the second thing right! Again the man was so excited he jumped up and down and shouted, "I did it! I did it!". Then he took the sheet of paper, and next to the second item, he scratched out the words, "I can't do that" and in big letters he wrote, "I CAN DO THAT"

Then the man said to himself, "I was able to do the first thing, and I was able to do the second thing, I'll bet if I try I can do the third thing too." So he tried to do the third thing, and he failed. But the man remembered that when he had tried to do the first thing many times he had finally gotten it right. And he remembered that when he had tried to do the second thing many times he had finally gotten it right too. So he tried the third thing again, and he failed again. And he tried many more times, and he failed many more times. But then, he tried it one more time and he succeeded! He had managed to do the third thing right! Again the man was so excited he jumped up and down and shouted, "I did it! I did it!". Then he took the sheet of paper, and next to the third item, he scratched out the words, "I can't do this either" and in big letters he wrote, "I CAN DO THIS TOO!"

Then the man took the sheet of paper and hung it on the fence, and he sat down to wait for the bird to return. But this time, as the man was sitting there he thought about the three things that he really liked to do. And he said to himself, "Why am I sitting in this chair, waiting for a bird, when I could be doing the things I really like to do?" So the man got up and did the things he really liked to do. And the man was happier than he'd ever been in his entire life.

One day, as the man was doing one of the things he really liked to do, he saw someone else doing something that looked like fun. And the man remembered how he had learned to do the three things, and he thought to himself, "If I try, I'm sure I can learn to do that too." So the man tried, and tried, and kept trying until he got it right. The man said, "This is fun! I love learning how to do new things." And after that, the man was never afraid to try anything.

One day, the man was learning something new, and the bird came and perched next to him. The bird said, "What are you doing?" And the man said, "I'm learning something new." Then he told the bird all about how he had tried to do the three things, and how he had failed at each one. And he told the bird about the piece of paper, and how it had made him mad. He told the bird about how he had tried to do the three things again and again until he had gotten them right. And as he was telling the bird these things, he suddenly realized that this had been the bird's plan from the beginning.

The man looked at the little bird, and the bird smiled at him. "Enjoy your life," said the little bird, "and always be glad for all the things you can do."

"I will," said the man. "Thanks to you I now realize that I can learn to do anything if I just put my mind to it and keep trying."

"You have learned your lesson well," said the little bird. And with that, he flew off to his next assignment. And the man, who used to sit around all day and do nothing, now spent his time doing the things he loved. And he had so much fun doing them that he never wanted to sit around all day and do nothing. And he never thought of himself as a failure ever again.

The end.

Submitted by:

Araykay

Araykay is a regular contributor at http://123WhoCares.com. He uses a special communication method called "Building Cognitive Bridges" to help readers understand elusive concepts by taking them to new vantage points where they can see that which had previously been hidden. Araykay's other articles can be viewed at http://123whocares.com.




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