Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that had a lasting impact on you?
Stories are one of the most powerful ways to guide, teach, and inspire people. Storytelling is effective because it helps to establish connections among people, as well as between people and the ideas that unite humanity.
Inspirational stories move past creating a sense of connection, and allow the listener to identify with the story wherever they are in their own life, which makes them more receptive to learning. Some of the best stories contain several different meanings or lessons so they’re effective in communicating complex ideas in ways that are easy to understand.
No matter what type of learner you are, you can benefit from an inspirational story that comes with a moral. In this article, I will share 3 short inspirational stories that can teach you valuable lessons
1. Three Feet From Gold
During the gold rush, a man who had been mining in Colorado for several months quit his job, as he hadn’t struck gold yet and the work was becoming tiresome. He sold his equipment to another man who resumed mining where it had been left off. The new miner was advised by his engineer that there was gold only three feet away from where the first miner stopped digging.
The engineer was right, which means the first miner was a mere three feet away from striking gold before he quit.
When things start to get hard, try to persevere through the adversity. Many people give up on following their dreams because the work becomes too difficult, tedious, or tiresome–but often, you’re closer to the finish line than you may think, and if you push just a little harder, you will succeed.
2. Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand
A philosophy professor once stood up before his class with a large empty mayonnaise jar. He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked his students if the jar was full.
His students all agreed the jar was full.
He then added small pebbles to the jar, and gave the jar a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger rocks. Then he asked again, “Is the jar full now?”
The students agreed that the jar was still full.
The professor then poured sand into the jar to fill up all the remaining empty space.
The students then agreed again that the jar was full.
In this story, the jar represents your life and the rocks, pebbles, and sand are the things that fill up your life. The rocks represent the most important projects and things you have going on, such as spending time with your family and maintaining proper health. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning.
The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house, hobbies, and friendships), but they are not critical for you to have a meaningful life. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.
Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life, and material possessions. This could be small things such as watching television, browsing through your favorite social media site, or running errands. These things don't mean much to your life as a whole, and are likely only done to waste time or get small tasks accomplished.
The metaphor here is that if you start with putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for rocks or pebbles. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.
In order to have a more effective and efficient life, pay attention to the “rocks,” because they are critical to your long-term well-being.
3. The Elephant Rope
When walking through an elephant camp, a man noticed that the elephants were only secured with a small rope that was tied around one ankle. He wondered why the elephants didn’t break free from the rope, as the elephants were certainly strong enough to do so.
He asked a trainer why the elephants didn’t try to break free, and the trainer responded by saying that they use the same size rope for baby elephants all the way up to adulthood. Because they’re too small when they’re babies to break free from the rope, they grow up being conditioned that the rope is stronger than they are. As adults, they think the rope can still hold them, so they don’t try to fight it.
The elephants in this case are experiencing learned helplessness. This phenomenon occurs when someone has been conditioned to anticipate discomfort in some way without having a way to avoid it or make it stop. After enough conditioning, the person will stop any attempts to avoid the pain, even if they see an opportunity to escape.
If you go through life thinking that you can’t do something just because you have failed at doing it in the past, you’re living with a fixed mindset. You have to let go of your limiting beliefs in order to make the breakthroughs that are required for your ultimate success. Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do something, and don’t hold onto an assumption that you can’t grow and learn from past failures..