The Story Of The 6ft Chopsticks

This week I want to share with you an ancient Chinese parable. A great story that helps in business agility and development.  Here’s how it goes:-

There was once a gentleman who wanted to check out the after-life.  He’d heard about Heaven and Hell and wanted to see what both were really like. After all, he thought, if I live the good life here on Earth and I get to the after-life and it’s all been some sort of con, I’m going to be peeved.

Especially after all the good food, he refused to eat because he thought it must be wrong to be so gluttonous. But if it didn’t matter, then he may as well enjoy himself and eat as much as he could.

So he booked a guided tour of Heaven and Hell for a day.

As a first step, his guide took him to the Gates of Hell. As he peered through the gates he saw a marvelous array of the most wonderful food piled high on large tables for as far as the eye could see.

It looked great, so he wandered in through the gates with his guide. On and on they walked and all the while they were surrounded on all sides by piles of the most wonderful food imaginable. This seemed more like ‘heaven’ to him than ‘hell’.

WOW! Hell’s definitely the place for me he told his guide…

All the food I can eat… what could be wrong with that. Food for eternity…it’s a dream come true!

His guide said nothing. However, as they walked into a large hall with a table many miles long piled up with food he noticed how all the people sitting around that table were emaciated … people with little or no flesh left on their bones. They were all moaning in agony at being hungry for the whole of eternity.

The man turned to his guide, “But I don’t understand, there is all this food and yet these people are starving. How can this be?”

“Look more closely” replied his guide. “You’ll see the reason soon enough…”

As they got nearer, the gentleman noticed that the people seemed to be holding very long chopsticks. As the man looked on he saw how no one could eat the food. They could pick the food up with their long chopsticks, but couldn’t get it round into their mouths.

On seeing this, he decided it was now time for him to take a tour of Heaven. As he wandered through the Pearly Gates with his guide he was amazed that everything looked the same.

Huge piles of food all around. Food as far as the eye could see. On and on they walked until, as in Hell, they came to another large hall with a table many miles long. Once again the table was full of food.

And once again the gentleman noticed that the people seemed to be holding very long chopsticks. Only this time these people were all healthy, happy people and well-fed.

“But I don’t understand” The man asked of his guide “How come everyone here is happy and healthy while everyone in Hell is starving?”

His guide looked at him and replied, “The difference is simply in the state of mind those in heaven have compared to those in hell…”

Look more closely…

This the man did until he quickly realised what was happening. In Heaven, each person would use their 6-foot chopsticks to pick up some food and feed the person opposite them. In return, the person opposite would do the same back.

Both individuals get fed. However, in hell the people are afraid of someone pinching their food… they are selfishly trying to use their own chopsticks to feed themselves. That’s why they go hungry.

How this applies to doing business here and now.

The days of vast businesses are passing. These days, the business world is much more about small, agile businesses working together to provide value for their clients. Individuals are focusing on their particular talents and co-operating with other entrepreneurs.

This story illustrates the power of using joint ventures to rapidly grow your business – business agility.

I know of individuals who are doing well but because they are scared to share their products, customers, and profits, they shun joint ventures. Unfortunately, these individuals are the same individuals who complain about business being hard, growth being slow and cash flow being tight.

This is such a waste. If they simply followed the principle of the 6ft chopsticks, they could easily open up new avenues to new customers, increase growth and increase profits.

So please think about this seriously… even if you’re just starting out there will come a time when you’ll want to speed up the rate at which you grow your business.

Sharing customers, profits and products will do this perfectly. Joining with other entrepreneurs will enable you to grow your business at a much faster rate than you ever could by yourself, just by using your own resources.

PGs Top Tips – List out your answers to the following questions.

  1. Where else do your customers hang out?
  2. Which other types of business do they talk to when they looking for buying products or services in your sector?
  3. Which other business offers an ‘Associated but Non-Competing’ product or service?

Now ask yourself how many of these types of businesses know about your products and services? Start building a list of potential partner businesses, reach out to the owners, connect on LinkedIn, and start building some mutually beneficial relationships. This will help your business agility and business development.

Think about the story you have just read. Think about it as a business guide. 

What does that mean for you…and your business…who do you need to work with to accelerate your personal and business development? Once you have decided…take action…and enjoy increased success and rewards.

To your success, all the best

Phillip Gibbs Signature

For more business agility strategies and marketing, advice check out my other #PGsTips Blog Posts

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