Stories exist everywhere. Look at yourself. Your life in itself is a story that has the potential to make a great movie (if you so decide to). At least better than the crap which Bollywood churns out these days!
Storytelling is the easiest form of sharing and reaffirming knowledge. History is nothing but stories. Art is nothing but stories. In fact, we live our lives through short and long stories. That’s why I am putting together, three of my most favourite kickass motivational stories hoping to shake you up fully with them. They have inspired me unfailingly, whenever I have needed.
The Lion who thought he was a Sheep
This is one of my favourite stories. A very lovely tale of living without realizing one’s true power. As a motivational speaker and trainer, I get to meet and talk to many people, students and working professionals alike. Trust me – 80% of the times, people worry about their future because they do not know what they can do with their lives. Their biggest tragedy is their under-confidence. Imagine – 80% people under confident. What does that mean for the rest of the 20%? A field day at achieving their goals! 🙂
So the number one of kickass motivational stories (as told by Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda Ji) goes like this –
A lioness, huge with an unborn baby lion in her body, was growing weak from lack of food. Roaring with sadness and hunger, and heavy with the baby lion, the lioness fell asleep at the edge of the forest near a pasture. She woke up to the sounds of a flock of sheep grazing nearby.
Forgetting the heavy baby lion in her body, and impelled by the madness of hunger, the lioness pounced on one of the young lambs and took it into the depths of the forest. The lioness did not realize that during the exertion of her mad leap at the lamb she had given birth to the baby lion.
The flock of sheep were so paralyzed with fear by the attack of the lioness that they couldn’t run away. When the lioness had departed and the panic was over, to their great astonishment, they discovered the helpless baby lion crooning in their midst. One of the mother sheep took pity on the baby lion and adopted it as her own.
The young lion grew up amidst the flock of sheep behaving exactly like a sheep. The sheep-lion bleated instead of roaring and ate grass instead of meat. This vegetarian lion acted exactly like a weak, meek lamb.
One day, another lion strolled out of the nearby forest onto the green pasture, and to his great delight beheld this flock of sheep. Thrilled with joy and whipped by hunger, the great lion pursued the fleeing flock of sheep, when, with amazement, he saw a huge lion, with tail high up in the air, fleeing at top speed ahead of the sheep. Ignoring his hunger, he raced hard and pounced upon the escaping lion. The sheep-lion fainted with fear. The big lion was puzzled more than ever, and slapped the sheep-lion out of his swoon. In a deep voice he rebuked, “What’s the matter with you?! Why do you, my brother, flee from me?”
The sheep-lion closed his eyes and bleated out in sheep language, “Please let me go. Don’t kill me. I’m just a sheep brought up with yonder flock.” He caught the sheep-lion by the mane with his mighty jaws and dragged him toward a lake at the end of the pasture. When the big lion reached the shore of the lake, he pushed the sheep-lion’s head so that it was reflected in the water.
The big lion gave the sheep-lion a terrible shake. The sheep-lion opened his eyes, and was astonished to find that the reflection of his head was not, as he expected, a sheep’s head but a lion’s head, like that of the lion who was shaking him with his paw. Then the big lion said, “Look at my face and your face reflected in the water. They are the same. My face roars. Now! You must roar instead of bleating!”
The sheep-lion, convinced, tried to roar, but could only produce bleat-mingled roars. As the older lion continued to exhort him with slapping paws, the sheep-lion at last succeeded in roaring. Then both lions bounded across the pasture, entered the forest, and returned to the den of lions.
The story is a great metaphor for all us who bleat with fear and spend their entire lives in fears- fears of failure, fears of losing a relationship, fears of virtually anything. You could either live in fear or live with sheer confidence. Either way, you will live but with massive difference in your quality of life. You can live crouched in insecurities or you can live with dazzling self confidence that can move mountains. But don’t be in a mask worrying about your future. Don’t be a lion with a sheep’s soul. That’s a waste for both. Not realizing your full potential is like the worst thing you can do to your life (& regret when you get old)! Why would you choose such a life for yourself? Go and express yourself fully. Be a Tiger. Go Roar !
Breaking the Ropes
I love stories from the animal kingdom. They make a point really well. Guess, we do not like to be inferior to them 🙂 …
Hoping you are enjoying this read. Here comes the number 2 of ‘Three Kickass Motivational Stories to Shake you up fully ‘:-
A Guy, one day was passing the elephants in a zoo, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that the huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front legs. No chains, no cages.
It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. That Guy saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to break-away.
“Well,” he said, “You see, when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and at that young age, it was enough to hold them. As they grow old, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the same old rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free”
These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but they never try because they believe they couldn’t, and were stuck right where they were.
Did you suddenly find a striking similarity to your life? If you did, my purpose here is solved. Question yourself today – what is it that chains you really? If you get deeper into the realms of your own limitations, you would know that more often than not it is your set of inhibitions that keep you from going where you want to be. You are bound by your own limitations to be or not to be- whatever you want to be.
No matter what life throws at you, there will be ways to find your way if you are really determined. I have heard of people who did not let issues even like serious diseases get into their way of achieving their dreams. Here’s the story of 14 yrs old Ayesha Chaudhary who learned how to sing in the lifeboat when her life became a shipwreck (Her inspirational talk). If she can do it, why can’t you? Why can’t you at least try to live up to your maximum?
Don’t let those imaginary ropes of life bind you the imaginary wells you think you ought to live in. The world is too massive and has place for your uniqueness. Just give it a shot!! One Life! Just go and blast it.
If you do not know Michael Phelps and his inspiring tale of beating odds, you really need to brush up your knowledge.
He is an American swimmer, a decorated sportsperson who holds the record for the highest number of gold medals won in Olympics (28). I did not and could not get into counting his actual medal tally. A gifted swimmer who trained equally hard to sustain his gifts, Michael is an epitome of the word sportsmanship.
It is easy to become famous, when you think of how hard it is to sustain that fame. He rose to fame and he fell too. Phelps was arrested for DUI at the age of 19. Despite his accolades and success, he was plagued by substance abuse and depression. Things went downhill as he slipped deeper into his rock bottom. A fall from that height is hard to survive. Things were so bad at one point that Phelps even contemplated suicide. It was his friend Ray Lewis who held his hand at this crucial stage and pulled him up from this mess.
He helped him with rehab and getting his life back. Phelps had been banned from all competitions because of his repeated public offences. But with help from Ray and family, he got back on his feet. He himself says, he would have never believed this day would come. He thought he was done. Finished!
Michael’s story is inspiring on many levels. It is not only quite similar to what many youngsters go through as they lose themselves in the spiral of drug abuse or anything extreme, but also a reminder of downfalls that can come at any stage in life. You could fail in the beginning, in the middle, in the end. Anywhere. But as long as you find the strength and support of few great friends and family, a comeback isn’t impossible.
Craftsmanship comes with practice. And lots of practice. Look at Lasith Malinga. He used to bowl 200 yorkers everyday(& for years) to master the craft of that delivery. Lionel Messi said he worked day in and day out for 17 years to become an overnight legend. That’s how winners are made. They rise, they fall, and they get up again. None of the overnight success stories last long. It is the slow endurance, the everyday kill and the solid foundation of a lifelong discipline that makes winners. The recent example is- Jaspreet Bumrah (The Yorker man of India right now). He practices bowling Yorkers some 3 hours a day to ensure that he gets them right in the final overs. And he gets them right too.
In this game of endurance, both mental and physical, these sports icons are examples of the limitlessness of the human mind should one wish to take notice. If they can do it, so can you.
I love stories and videos (Four Motivational Videos to Super-Charge Your Confidence). Be it corporate events, seminars for the youth or keynote speeches, I am always a storyteller. Because I realize that we might have grown into adults; but when it comes to stories we are all kids. A story if narrated well goes straight to the heart. And many of the stories that i share are my failure stories too. It doesn’t matter whether your story is a successful one or not. Even a failure could be a deep motivational story, as long as you take home the right lessons.
Keep writing the story of your life. For you are your own storyteller!