By Geoff Tan
SOMETIME ago, in this column, I wrote about an unassuming man who plonked himself down beside me while I was sitting on the floor of an in-line skate shop trying on a pair of Rollerblades, and started to share with me his life story.
Born a dyslexic, he honed his skill as a skater and became a champion in the sport.
Till today, he still finds great difficulty reading and writing.
But what he lacked in one area, he made up for it with an acute eye for business. And all this was triggered off by the dedicated effort he put into excelling in his strengths, and looking beyond his weaknesses.
Law Kum Seng has not only been blessed with a successful skate-school business but he is also a motivational speaker, runs adventure camps for corporations, and helps people learn more about caring for our environment through his reforestation projects.
This reminds me of the story about a water bearer in India who had two large pots hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his back. One of the pots had a crack in it and, by the time the water bearer reached his master?s house, it would have leaked half of its contents.
For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only 11/2 pots of water.
One day, the cracked pot said to the water bearer: "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you."
"Why?" asked the bearer.
"What are you ashamed of?"
The pot replied: "I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out."
The water bearer, feeling sorry for the pot, said: "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
The pot did this and was cheered up a little by the sight.
The bearer said to the pot: "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years, I have been able to pick the beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."
This story illustrates that each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots to a degree. But if we can look away from this and focus on the positive aspects of our situation, it will not only lift our self-esteem but also inspire the people around us.
The writer is a senior vice-president of the SPH marketing division and the general manager of SPH NewMedia for Zapcode.
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