“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Ant and the Grasshopper

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest."Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"

"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."

"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.

Lessons in life:

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This is one of the fundamental principles of good management. A company should always have short and long-term growth plans. At a strategic level, a business plan will enable the company to identify business objectives and opportunities.

At the operational level, planning leads to smooth and successful daily operational activities. For family businesses, succession planning is vital as we have seen examples of businesses folding up after the loss of their key leader. Plans should also not be cast in stone. They should be reviewed constantly, in line with the changing market conditions of the particular industry.

On a separate note, the fable does allude to the social dichotomy between the rich and the poor. There are the people who make a fortune through sheer hard work, and there are the loafers who blame everyone except themselves for the poverty they face. The strange thing, however, is that these loafers survive.

In certain welfare states, they are so well provided for by the government (with social insurance for old age, illness, and unemployment needs) that they are better off not working. Tax the rich to give to the poor. While this will bridge the income gap between the two classes, if overdone, it may force the country's wealthy citizens to migrate to countries with lower tax regime. Not only that, it gives the poor no incentive to work hard, or to upgrade their skills.

While the fable did not reveal much of the fate of the Grasshopper, we know that in real life, Grasshoppers will continue to hop about merrily and enjoy the fruits of labor of the Ants. They do it either via the legitimate social framework, or the thugs' method portrayed in the animated film “A Bug's Life”. Life is never fair.


It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

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