One day a group of 100 people were hiking together through the woods. After several hours of walking they took an uncharted turn through a ravine and came upon a gorgeous hidden valley. This valley was one of extraordinary beauty and tranquility. Before long they came to a grove of beautiful trees. They all gathered around several of the trees to examine what appeared to be $100 bills growing on the branches. There were thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of hundreds.
The leader of the group picked one of the Benjamins and examined it. She first checked the serial number and compared it to the bills still growing. They were all different. In fact, everything about the currency appeared authentic right down to the embedded security strip. The entire group was awestruck.
As if on cue, everyone began frantically speaking at once in an effort to decide what ought to be done. A group of about twenty-five of the hikers refused to believe what they were seeing. They discussed the matter at length and further convinced each other that the money was not really there. One of them convinced the others that the food they’d eaten for lunch was bad and was causing hallucinations.
A second group of twenty-five decided they d take a single sample from each tree to make sure the $100s were not counterfeit. They discussed the many ways to test each note for authenticity. One man said he’d heard of a secret government project where various currencies from around the world were somehow being “cloned” through agricultural means with the goal of undermining the currencies of our enemies. As he spoke others in the group began to join in saying they’d heard about this. They finally decided they’d bring the currency to authorities such as the secret service and FBI as soon as they returned from their trip and demand an explanation.
Another group of 25 decided they should dig up one of the trees and do extensive research on the roots, the soil, and what kind of nutrients the tree needed. They were at odds over which tree should be tested so they continued to discuss the problem into the night finally deciding that a small root sample from as many of the trees as possible was best.
Yet another group of 15 decided to contact the US Department of Agriculture and report the phenomenon. They immediately began their journey back to civilization to make the contact.
Five of the remaining ten decided they would do an exhaustive study of the valley to see if they could determine the origin of the trees and what type of conditions they thrived in.
The remaining five hikers emptied their backpacks and stuffed them with thousands and thousands of bills. They left the valley to enjoy the money which somehow proved to be authentic and were never heard from again.
Obviously this little tale is fantasy. But it does represent human nature quite well. These hikers all had the same opportunity. The entire group of 100 could have all walked away from the valley millionaires. Instead they broke into groups to examine the situation.
I think most of us can see a little bit of ourselves in this story. I know that I sometimes get sidetracked with remotely relevant details while the important aspects of my work go without attention.
The point here is simple. We often spend our time examining roots and other particulars rather than simply pick perfectly good fruit. And we’re all guilty of this at one time or another. Are you a writer? A poet? An engineer? An artist or a teacher? It doesn’t matter what you call yourself or how you earn your living. Chances are you’re spending at least some of your time examining roots rather than picking fruit.
Social media immediately comes to mind. The various social media platforms can play a big part in your success if you use them wisely to promote your products and services. Of course, they can work against you if you hang out all day fiddling around with nonessential trivia.
Here’s to sticking to the important stuff. Peace.