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Thread: The Beanstalk and Jack

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    The Beanstalk and Jack

    The Beanstalk and Jack

    It has been mentioned a few hundred times in newspapers and television broadcasts all over South Africa and the world for that matter, that we are without a doubt in one of the most precarious economic situations ever. This may be so, but somehow Jack, the beanstalk, the giant and the goose springs to mind, remember them?

    Jack and his mother certainly remind me of the average South African. Not screamingly wealthy, not totally without income, but occasionally digging deep to make it through to payday.

    Okay, so off goes our average Jack to flog off the cow in the hope of getting some cash, when that tiny little bit of laziness or apathy creeps in. Just aimlessly wandering down the path he had been shown, in the direction of some hope, there steps at this stage AN OPPORTUNITY. This opportunity at that moment didn’t look like much to Jack, nor later to his very irate mother, as it was disguised as something else. In this case, as a smooth talking sales man.

    Just back up a bit here, as we all know that Jack succumbed to the salesman’s wily ways and exchanged his last asset for what appeared to be 3 useless beans.

    Firstly I would like to point out that whilst Jack was walking slowly and without real speed at this point, he was still walking. He had not given up altogether (kudos to you dude!) Also, had he been a rude and obnoxious person who never ever listened to the attempts of others bringing knowledge, in this instance in the form of a sales pitch, he would not have been where he is today! (A reminder to take time out to connect with other humans along this road we call life.)

    So the exchange made and Jack now doubting the wisdom of his choice (hands up everyone who has doubted yourself, your choices and your ability to succeed) retreats. Shall I ask again? How many of us don’t
    a) see the opportunity,
    b) grab it and then
    c) doubt ourselves, retreat and head off back to our little holes because after all, we can justify from South to East Africa why the sky should not be our limit.

    Right, so true to form between Jack and his mother they have a hissy fit, throw the beans in the mud and storm off to their various rooms without sufficient communication, nor any plan forward – in fact rumour has it that they kept going around in circles trying to see who was to blame. The mother? She should not have entrusted this mammoth task to such a young kid! Jack? He should have been more focussed! The sales man? He was the one with evil intention.

    Sound familiar? Do we really do that? In real life?

    Then by some miracle the window opens and Jack sees the bigger picture, he sees a tiny way forward, this incidentally usually happens if we sleep on a problem and give it sufficient time to take seed. Our subconscious presents our solution. Clear as daylight there was the beanstalk.

    Fact is nobody knew what lay ahead, but Jack had the guts to climb it. Yup, pure damn courage. He didn’t say, but mommy dearest I am scared, or hungry or what if the wind blows? He didn’t say I can’t do it because you did not give me the physical training, nor did he say I have no guarantee of the outcome therefore I refuse to try, Jack simply grabbed hold of the stalk and purposefully climbed. Ha! There it is ladies and gentleman, we can only find that much that stops us from doing things, after that it is purely and simply lack of will. May I add that this is why I have still not bungi jumped? Pure lack of will!

    The road walked, or in this case the beanstalk climbed and this poor kid (yup, he is still poor at this stage) is faced what seems to be irrefutable proof that at no stage should he ever have embarked on this attempt to climb out of his comfort zone. A giant obstacle, no really, a real giant obstacle stands in his way. Literally. Jack sees it, he hears it, it pervades his every sense. The boy is petrified.

    The only thing that at this point allows him not to turn and run for the hills is that he cannot do so. His legs won’t work. He is immobilised. No strength, courage gone, pure terror and not knowing what to do next. You see, just like real life, even if you get on the right track, there are kinks and obstacles that make you doubt yourself, again and again. Month end commitments and demands from other people can be terrifying! Sometimes they appear larger than life, but at this point it helps to remember that some wise dude somewhere, once said…Obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes off the goal….

    Now luckily for Jack he had managed to see the goal. Yes, yes I know that somewhere I have managed to get the story a bit wrong, but the goose was there, the one that lays the golden egg, the one Jack had caught a glimpse off when he allowed himself to look past the obstacles. Luckily for Jack he was immobilised at this stage and could not run….anywhere…at all!

    He had to improvise and pretty darn quickly as well. Climb in cupboards, hide in ovens, peek out from beneath the bed, whatever!! South African compatriot, is this not what we are best at? Making it happen, changing it slightly and seeing huge results that work for us in a purely African way? Improvisation is and will always be necessary, it makes it uniquely ours. At no stage will your story, my story and that of Jacks be 100% the same, That is why we cannot write the perfect text book, but we can sure as anything draw beautiful landscapes.

    Eventually he sees success, this average Jack of ours, he manages to capture a goose that lays a golden egg. He did this firstly born from need, then with courage, then with conviction and determination. (don’t you think staying out of the claws of that hungry giant needed both?)

    Thereafter the story goes….and they lived happily ever after, but a few ideas first….

    a) No, he did not steal the goose! In this instance he paid with the cow, it was a cumbersome transaction, but an honest one in the long run!
    b) Nor could they live in bliss forever. Everything, I repeat everything, needs maintenance and continued effort to remain flourishing, but it certainly is a pleasure when you are doing what you like, with sufficient resources to do so.
    c) The moral of this story, I don’t care what the economists say, opportunity is everywhere, even in times of dire need. We simply need the savvy to recognise it and then the determination and courage to follow through… are you with me?

    The Beginning….

    © Debbie Engelbrecht 13th January 2009

    Debbie is the owner of a training company, her passion in life is to encourage, motivate and empower individuals to follow their dream.


    From reception to management training, assertiveness, accountability or interviewing skills, we have a wide range of training workshops available for you!

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  2. Thank given for this post:

    duncan drennan (13-Jan-09), Morticia (13-Jan-09), Yvonne (14-Jan-09)

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