A famous Aesop’s Fable tells the story of a man and his wife who owned a goose which laid a golden egg every day. They considered themselves very lucky to possess such a rare bird, and began to wonder just how much gold the goose must have inside it.
Eager to obtain wealth, they cut open the goose, killing it. However, to their disappointment, they discovered that the inside of the bird was like any other goose and was not made of gold. In killing the goose that laid the golden eggs, they had deprived themselves of a regular source of gold.
The lesson of ‘The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs’ obviously points to the idea that greed is bad. If the man and his wife had not been motivated by avarice, or greed for more gold, they would not have cut open the goose and deprive themselves of a smaller, though steady and reliable source of income from their special bird.
As I pondered upon this simple tale that’s filled with “golden nuggets” of wisdom, I couldn’t help but compare it to the mentality of instant gratification. How often do we fall for the temptation of foregoing a future benefit in order to obtain a less rewarding, but more immediate benefit?
While certain instances may justify giving into our impulses for the lesser reward, in my experience, the pay off has always been more worth it when I resisted the need for instant gratification. Of course, it’s never easy to see in the moment when we’re faced with a tempting decision.
I recently started teaching my dog Sophie to “leave it” whenever she picks up something she’s not supposed to have. The trick to teaching her is to place a tasty treat on the ground and have her walk by it until she’s able to successfully ignore it. Once she accomplishes that task, I discard the treat on the ground and reward her with something even tastier. She now understands the importance of leaving certain things alone, knowing she will be rewarded with something greater later.
What long-term goals do you have in mind? Do you think it’s worth waiting for certain rewards in life? Whatever your mindset or desires may be, it never hurts to keep in mind the lessons from “The Goose That Laid A Golden Egg.”