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Being Yourself: Are You a Saint or a Scorpion?

Being Yourself: Are You a Saint or a Scorpion?


    Once upon a time, on his way to the Himalayas, was a saint, a wandering ascetic. He came across a shallow river he had to cross. Just when he was about to wet his feet, he saw a scorpion helplessly treading the water, trying to come out of the river. It was almost touching the bank but not enough to gain hold of the ground. The sage saw scorpion’s struggle and decided to save it.

    He picked up the scorpion in his right palm with the intention to place it on the dry surface. No sooner did he do that than the scorpion stung and rushed off the palm in frenzy, landing in the water again. It resumed its struggle to come out of water. The sage caressed his ailing right hand with his left. His body was in pain but his mind, calm.

    Seeing that the scorpion could lose its life, the sage used left hand this time to lift the scorpion out of water. However, it panicked and stung again. Once again, it sped off the hand and fell in water resuming its struggle to come out. The saint was left with both hands singed with excruciating pain. He was not the one to give up either.

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    He tried again. This time, he cupped his hands together and lifted the scorpion in one swift movement. Before it could react, he safely dropped it on the land. The scorpion disappeared into the pebbles that lay near the bank. The sage felt elated, for, he succeeded in carrying out his resolve, for saving another life, in holding his forte. It was worth the pain he thought.

    At a distance, oblivious to the saint, a man, surprised and shocked, had watched the whole episode. He promptly approached the sage and said, “Pray, can I ask you a question please?”

    “Yes, you may.”

    “First of all, there was no need to save a scorpion. It does no good to anybody. Secondly, if must you save him out of compassion, you could have simply tried once. I’m surprised that even after it stung you so ungratefully, you persisted with your efforts. Why? How come you did not just stomp on it after it stung you?”

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    “Oh! That’s pretty simple,” the sage replied softly rubbing his stung hands against each other. “This was a scorpion, someone really low on the food chain, a creature whose nature is to sting, to panic, to harm. It is known for not exhibiting any compassion. It is supposed to be weak. Whereas, I am supposed to be a saint, a person whose job is to love everybody, to only offer unconditional love and compassion. I am supposed to be the strong one, the one higher up on the food chain. With my principles and lifestyle, my philosophy and practice, my elevated emotional and mental state, I am supposed to cleanse and transform the other individual. Right?”

    The man nodded.

    “Well then, a creature as lowly and weak as a scorpion does not change its basic nature, its traits, reactions in the presence of a holy man. Should I, the one who’s supposed to be a saint, let go off my righteous conduct, my demeanor in the presence of a scorpion? Am I now so weak to allow a measly creature change me, throw me off my principles and virtues? It did what it is designed for and I did what I’m designed for. It retained its behavior, and I, mine.”

    The man prostrated at the feet of the sage and expressed his gratitude for the profound wisdom.

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    Living in this world, disagreements are normal, in fact, natural. You will meet people ranging from scorpions to saints, thankful to thankless, from weak to wild, and so forth. If they are able to provoke you, put you off, throw you off balance, they are stronger than you. When in any conflict, if you retain your goodness, you will emerge a winner. If you stoop down to their level, treating them the way they treated you, that invariably means they have won, that means you have become like them. Rarely worth it, if you ask me.

    It is often not possible for a person to be one or the other at all times. Sometimes circumstances force you to sting like a scorpion, perhaps you may even repent later on; forgive yourself. A lot more important is to make a serious attempt to act like a saint. Whether you are a sage or a scorpion, it is a matter of choice, an independent choice. You have the option to retain your individuality. Strength comes naturally from such stance.

    So, if you are willing, write in the comments below, whether you are:

    • (a) a sage;
    • (b) a scorpion;
    • (c) or you can be either depending on the situation.

    If you wish to be a sage under all circumstances, you can. It requires mindfulness and a conscious effort. Nothing will ever bother you thereafter.

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    Peace.

    (Photo credit: Man With Devil and angel on Shoulders via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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