Take proper care of the goose, to get the golden eggs.

Aesop’s fable is a good lesson for us. In it, a farmer has a goose that lays a golden egg each day. Over time the farmer grows rich from selling the eggs, but also becomes greedy and impatient. He decides to kill the goose and cut it open, to get to the eggs faster. Of course in doing so he loses both the goose and the future eggs. It’s also common for us to grow greedy and impatient with our own metaphorical geese – our relationships, as well as with our self. We may go through a sprint of high production and start to expect that we can maintain that pace, without taking care of ourselves, and relationships with others. For example, it’s not unusual for marriages to start off strong. Then gradually, as we neglect our spouse’s needs, we wonder why all the loveliness isn’t there anymore. Or we can’t understand why our child doesn’t listen to us, but we haven’t put in the effort to listen to her/him over the years. The opposite can also be a problem. If we excessively pamper ourselves, or spoil others too much, there will be laziness, disharmony, or disrespect, and no golden eggs being produced. We need a balance of both, taking care of the goose and making sure the eggs are being laid.

Take action: Are you getting what you feel you should be getting from yourself, your family, and/or people you work with? Consider if you’re taking the time to balance and nurture your relationships properly. Is your child disobedient, or your spouse ignoring you, or do your co-workers seem lazy? Instead of thinking they just don’t care, take a look at your own input into your relationship with them, and spend time appreciating their point of view.

Inspired by Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.

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