The North Wind and the Sun

2 Jun

As a firm believer in all things literary, I am sure pretty much every life lesson can be learned from a book. Chances are if it’s happened, it’s been written about. As a writer searching for a new idea, this can be insanely frustrating. But as a young adult, a certain level of solace can be found in characters that have “been there, done that.” Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite fable, “The North Wind and the Sun.”

“A dispute arose between the North Wind and the Sun, each claiming that he was stronger than the other. At last they agreed to try their powers upon a traveller, to see which could soonest strip him of his cloak. The North Wind had the first try; and, gathering up all his force for the attack, he came whirling furiously down upon the man, and caught up his cloak as though he would wrest it from him by one single effort: but the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped it round himself. Then came the turn of the Sun. At first he beamed gently upon the traveller, who soon unclasped his cloak and walked on with it hanging loosely about his shoulders: then he shone forth in his full strength, and the man, before he had gone many steps, was glad to throw his cloak right off and complete his journey more lightly clad.”

I’ve always loved this story because I find it really relatable.While it is clearly about the power of persuasion, I think there’s a different aspect to it. We are often taught to fight hard against the grain, keep going, never give up. Those are all excellent qualities, but when is enough, enough? Sometimes we get so caught up in winning and getting “our” way that we forget to shun the tunnel vision and see the other options right in front. Similar to a riptide, don’t fight and struggle to reach the shore. Take your time, swim a little out of the way and reach your goal anyway.

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