English Level: B1 🇨🇦
There’s an old Jewish story of a prophet who meets a woman one day. This woman tells the prophet that a man has come to collect a debt. If she doesn’t pay the debt, the man will take her children.
The prophet says, “What do you have in your house?” The woman thinks about it and says, “I have nothing except a jar of oil.”
“Ask all of your neighbors for empty jars, take them to your house and pour the oil into all of these jars.”
She collected many jars from her neighbors and started pouring the oil. When all of the jars were full, she told her son, “bring me another jar.” The son responded that there were no more jars available and that’s when the oil stopped flowing.
She went back to the prophet and told him what had happened. He said to her, “go and sell the oil and pay what you owe. You and your sons can live on whatever is left over.”
Now what’s the moral of this story? We all have something at our disposal that we can use to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. But as long as we focus on what we don’t have, ex. our lack of money, time, and connections, we will remain in our current state.
I wasn’t born into a rich family but my parents taught me how to work hard. I didn’t have tutors and I didn’t go to private schools, but I had books. As a child of immigrants, my parents didn’t have an established network of people that could help me succeed in the business world but my parents showed me how to be friendly and develop relationships with people.
When we focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have, incredible things are possible.
So my question to you is, what are the jars of oil in your life? In other words, what are the skills, resources, connections you already have that could help you progress?
- prophet (noun): a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.
- debt (noun.): a sum of money that is owed or due.
- jar (noun): a wide-mouthed cylindrical container made of glass or pottery and typically having a lid, used especially for storing food.
- pour (verb.): cause (a liquid) to flow from a container in a steady stream.
- owe (verb): have an obligation to pay or repay (something, especially money) in return for something received.
- lack (noun): the state of being without or not having enough of something.
Phrases to Remember
- At one’s disposal: available for one to use whenever or however one wishes.
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