The Story Of The Pencil

I’m currently reading “Like the Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho, Its a book filled with short stories and they all have valuable morals. I loved this little gem so I thought I would share it with you:

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked:
‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’
His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:
I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’
Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.
‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’
‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’
‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’
‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.
‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’
‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’
‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’

Never Give Up

Pablo Picasso once said, “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.”
When we start working on our dreams, we always feel afraid. We wonder if there are rules to follow. Who comes up with these rules, while we all live such different lives? If God created the giraffe, the elephant and the cat, and we try to learn from his example, then why would we try to follow one rule or another?
Sometimes rules help us avoid the mistakes others have made before our time, but more often than not a rule will only make us repeat what someone else has already done.
Rest assured. Trust the universe, and look forward to surprising yourself.

The wise understand that repetition has a cause: to teach the lesson that still needs teaching. Repetitive situations require different solutions every time. The one who fails must not see this as a mistake, but rather as a step toward greater self knowledge.
It’s like Thomas Watson said, “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.”

– Paulo Coelho