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Using a Fresh Approach

I have some things going on in my life that have not been working for me lately. I have been reminded of a story that is inspiring me.

There was once a crow who found a pitcher of water and wanted a drink. It was during a season of great drought. The water was right there in front of him, gathered in the bottom of a pitcher. The problem was that he couldn’t reach it. The neck of the pitcher was too narrow. The crow tried repeatedly to get the water at the bottom of the pitcher with no success. It was beyond his reach. Then he realized he needed a new approach. Rather than trying to reach down to get the water, the crow decided to bring the water up to him. He picked up some pebbles nearby and dropped them into the pitcher. Slowly the pebbles brought the water up to him.*

I have been reflecting on this story, one of Aesop’s fables. I think we all have things beyond our reach or things in our life that are just not right. There are often things that are beyond our control. It feels like there is not a way to get to the bottom of it or get beyond it.

I heard about a woman who was living in a neighborhood marked by fear and the constant threat of violence. In the midst of it all, she feared the police, the people who were meant to help her. She got to the point where she could not handle it anymore. Something had to change. She assembled a plate of cookies, made some coffee and invited the police officers into her home so that they could talk so she could listen. Those cookies were her pebbles. She took what she had and moved toward the thing she was thirsting for.

Simon Sinek said, “Leaders are not the ones who are in charge. They’re the ones who have the courage to go first.” We don’t need to try to change the world. We can focus on trying to change our world. A fresh approach may make all the difference.


What’s not working for you?

What is it that you can’t reach?

Why is it important to you?

Is there something you can do about it?

Is there a new way you can approach it?


* Interestingly, Pliny the Elder, in Natural History (77A.D.) mentions that crows exhibit the same behavior mentioned in the fable of The Crow and the Pitcher.


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