The story of the Golden Egg
As some of you might already know, I’ve recently started to re-read one of the books that have had the most influence on my life so far, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. While reading it this morning, I came across an interesting story about a miraculous Goose that could produce Golden Eggs, and I felt like sharing the insights with you.
The story is the following:
“One morning, while caring for his gooses and fetching their eggs, a farmer finds a Golden Egg.
If at first he believes it’s a joke and is tempted to throw it aside, he rapidly discovers that… it’s legit, it’s Gold! So he sells it and comes back the day after to find another glowing gold egg.
As he becomes immensely rich, he also becomes immensely greedy and impatient, so one day, he decides to kill the goose and take all of the golden eggs inside, only to discover that… they were none and, in his act of impatience, he destroyed the ability to get any more eggs in the future.”
In the book, Stephen R. Covey uses this example to introduce us to the idea of P/PC Balance. Here, P (for Production) represents the Golden Egg, what is produced and own a value ; PC stands for “Production Capability”, the Goose who could miraculously lay golden eggs.
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What we can learn from this story
So, I see you coming, it’s easier to judge the farmer: it’s stupid, we all know that he should have cared for his Goose so she could produce more eggs, rather than kill her. How idiotic!
Yet… in our daily life we keep making the same choice as the farmer. We know that a good night of sleep (PC) is the best choice to make us learn and create more effectively (P), yet we always burn the candle at both ends pulling up all nighters so we could study “just a bit more”.
In our relationships with people, groups and money, we only care about the immediate result (P – getting what we want right now), rather than invest (PC) on the long run, care for the present so we can earn more later.
And I am the first to blame for that, especially when it comes to not sleeping enough or stressing out a little too much, but it’s something that I would like to change, I would like to give my attention to what really matters : the goose (my health, both physically and mentally, my well-being and happiness) rather than on the Golden Egg (the immediate result of pleasing people, earning a good grade, earning money).
Have you learned something from this post? I would love to know your thoughts, about the story or about the book if you have read it, in the comments!
PS: I really would like to write a series of posts about what I learn in this book, would you be interested in that?