Centuries ago, in a small Italian town, there was a business owner who was in a great amount of debt. His banker, who was an old, unattractive man, strongly desired the business owner’s younger beautiful daughter.
The banker decided to offer the businessman a deal to forgive the debt that he owed the bank completely. However, there was a bit of a catch.
In order for the businessman to become debt-free, he was to have his daughter marry the banker.
The businessman didn’t want to concede to this agreement, but he had no other choice, as his debt was so extreme.
The banker said he would put two small stones into a bag–one of which was white, and the other black.
The daughter would then need to reach into the bag and blindly choose a stone. If she chose the black stone, the businessman’s debt would be cleared and the daughter would have to marry the banker. However, if she chose the white stone, the debt would be cleared and the daughter would not have to marry him.
While standing in the stone-filled path in the businessman’s yard, the banker reached down and chose two small stones, not realizing that the businessman’s daughter was watching him. She noticed that he picked up two black stones and put them in the bag.
When it came time for the daughter to pick a stone out of the bag, she felt she had three choices:
- Refuse to do it.
- Take out both stones and expose the banker’s cheating.
- Pick a stone, knowing it would be black, and sacrifice herself to get her father out of debt.
She picked a stone from the bag, and immediately ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the abundance of stones where they were all standing.
She said to the banker, “I’m sorry, I’m so clumsy! Oh well. Just look in the bag to see what color stone is in there now so you will know what color stone I picked.”
Of course, the remaining stone was black. Because the banker didn’t want his deceit to be exposed, he played along, acting as if the stone that the businessman’s daughter dropped had to have been white. He cleared the businessman’s debt and the daughter remained free from having to spend the rest of her life with the banker.
While you may have to think outside of the box sometimes, it’s always possible to conquer a difficult situation. You don’t have to always give in to the options you’re presented with. Challenge the status quo. Think creatively. Engage in productive nonconformity when possible. Don’t be afraid to question the things that are expected to be true. In order to overcome challenges, you have to think in ways that you’ve never thought before.