A Lesson on Tolerance & Working Together from Napoleon Hill
I enjoy reading non-fiction and especially classics. Should we be surprised that an impactful lesson from around 1925 - 1928 is still relevant and highly applicable in today's society? No. The book, "The Law of Success" written by Napoleon Hill is full of tried-and-true lessons, and I'm only on page 79!
While reading last night I came across a particular story that stood out to me. The lesson from this story should be adapted and taught at every level of school or university ... written on the walls of every corporation and echoed through the halls of our government establishments. It should be weaved throughout the speeches of all leaders within our communities. I'm not making a political statement. I'm not pointing the finger at the right or left, at the corporations, Hollywood, or anything/anyone else. In fact, it is an observation and lesson that can be seen and learned across all of these institutions and their respective constituents. We need to look in the mirror. We need to reflect on how we can change as an individual first. Then, how to help support others to improve and spread tolerance across our communities. Right now in the US, the world, our communities, and within corporations, we are suffering from two major problems:
1) Intolerance - an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own
2) A Lack of Willingness to Work Together - Not setting aside our differences due to intolerance, the lust for undisputed power, success, or any other illogical reason to come together for the good of all
Note: According to Mr. Hill, we can define Power as "organized energy and effort." Success is the "development of the power with which to get whatever one wants in life without interfering with the rights of others."
So by now, you might be wondering about the story that inspired this message. It's a simple story of a father that had seven children that were always quarreling. The father wanted to demonstrate the impact of their lack of co-operative effort and intolerance. So, this father prepared a bundle of seven sticks and carefully tied them together. One by one he asked each child to attempt to take the bundle and break it. Each child was unsuccessful. The strength and power of the bundle was no match for the individual. Then, the father cut the strings and handed one of the sticks to each of his children. Again, he asked each child to try and break their stick. All sticks were broken.
At this point, the father said, "When you boys work together in a spirit of harmony you resemble the bundle of sticks, and no one can defeat you, but when you quarrel among yourselves anyone can defeat you one at a time."
To gain power and to reach a successful end (as defined in the note above) we must work together in harmony and be tolerant of others.
It doesn't matter who you are, where you work, your political affiliation, or anything like that. Intolerance and the lack of a willingness to work together is hurting our communities and corporations. We are all different. We may have different beliefs. But, we are all seeking the same goal: To leave this world as a better place for generations to come.
Some of you have already made snap judgements about this article. You might be thinking, "Hey, it's not my fault, it's their fault!" All I'm asking is for you to stop for a moment. Take a deep breath. This time, instead of immediately pointing fingers, take some time to start reflecting. Accept some of the responsibility. Conduct an internal inventory. Change yourself first. Learn to listen. Learn to be tolerant. Learn to work together with people you don't agree with. Lead the change. You set the example and spread the word. Show up each and every moment ready and willing to listen, to show tolerance, to be humble, and to work together. It may be a complicated and tough road ahead ... I know this. But, believe me, if we all work together, just like the bundle of sticks, there is a win / win solution. Success is inevitable when working together in harmony without interfering with the rights of others.