One day a lady in a brand new Volvo had been driving round a crowded car park, had finally found a spot and was just about to back into it when a young P plater in a hotted up Torana whizzed into the spot before her. As the Torana driver got out of his car and was walking away the lady in the Volvo called out “I found that spot first. What gives you the right to push in and take it?” The young man laughed and said “Because I’m young and quick” and kept on walking. All of sudden he heard the hideous sound of a car being heartily smashed. He turned around to see the lady in the Volvo repeatedly ramming her car into his. She caught his eye and said “That’s because I’m old and rich!”
here was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”
Alternate Application – gossip. When telling the story substitute “gossip” for “anger”, but with the same result – the wounds are still there.
Standard Oil was once one of the biggest companies in the world, led by the famous John D Rockefeller. On one occasion a company executive made a bad decision. It cost the firm $2 million. This was the late 1800’s and $2 million was a huge sum.
Edward Bedford, a partner in the company had an appointment to see Rockefeller. When he entered Rockefeller’s office he saw his boss bent over a piece of paper, busily scribbling notes. When Rockefeller finally looked up he said to Bedford, “I suppose you’ve heard about our loss? I’ve been thinking it over,” Rockefeller said, “and before I ask the man in to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.”
Bedford looked across the table and saw the page Rockefeller had been scribbling on. Across the top of the page was the heading, “Points in favour of Mr __________.” Below the heading was a long list of the man’s good qualities, including notes of three occasions where he had made decisions that had earned the company many times more than his error had lost.
Bedford later said, “I never forgot that lesson. In later years, whenever I was tempted to rip into anyone, I forced myself first to sit down and thoughtfully compile as long a list of good points as I possibly could. Invariably, by the time I finished my inventory, I would see the matter in its true perspective and keep my temper under control. There is no telling how many times this habit has prevented me from committing one of the costliest mistakes any executive can make — losing his temper.”
Source: reported in Bits & Pieces, September 15, 1994