Chances are that most of you might be familiar with the Hen and the Golden Egg tale. Some of you might know it as the story of the Goose and the Golden egg. And if you are not aware of this tale, then that’s even better, I welcome you to it! I too was taught this tale back in the primary school, but the lesson that was derived and taught to us, I think, is too shallow and didn’t do justice to the deeper wisdom we could have learned from it. Plus the story was just too simple and lacked details that could add on to our learning. So I decided to rewrite the tale in my own words so that we can connect more to it and have a deeper insight into the wisdom that it holds. Let’s begin…
The Hen and The Golden Egg
Long ago, a farmer lived in a small village not far from the urban cities. He had been into farming business for over 20 years. In summer he would plant tomatoes. In winter he planted peas. In the backyard of his family home, he kept a small population of chicken, which would provide eggs and meat for the family.
One morning, as the farmer was headed towards his farms, he saw a white healthy hen sitting on the side of the road. When he got closer to the hen, it didn’t run away so he picked it up to protect it from the wild animals. He went to the other farmers living nearby to ask if this hen was theirs, but he couldn’t find the owner so he decided to keep it for himself. He took it back to his home and placed this new white beautiful hen with the other hens. This new hen seemed like any other ordinary hen, so the farmer didn’t give much thought to it and went back to his farms to continue the day’s work.
The next morning, as the farmer went out to his backyard to get some fresh eggs for breakfast, he found something bright and shiny under that new hen. He went forward to see what that shiny object was. To his amazement, this hen had laid a Golden egg! The farmer couldn’t believe it. He had only heard of such occurrence in tales and fables. As he carefully picked it up and examined it, he found that it was indeed made of pure solid gold! Being extremely happy and excited, he immediately went to the market and sold it for a very good sum of money.
The next morning, he went to his yard excitedly to see if the hen has laid another golden egg. And Yes! There is it, yet again, the golden egg. The hen gave one golden egg every day, and the farmer kept on selling them. He got richer by the day until very soon he collected a grand sum of money. With that money, he decided to buy a bigger and luxurious house in the nearby city and moved there along with his family and this hen. Since he already made so much money from the golden eggs, he left his farms to rot as he moved to the city. The farmland went completely barren within a few months.
As time passed on, his standard of living increased, so did his expenses. He started to spend most of his money in buying and leasing expensive material things, delicious foods, and branded clothing. Soon he found that one golden egg per day wasn’t satisfactory enough to meet all his desires. At one point his daily expenses became so high that he wasn’t able to save a penny. In fact, he had to spend money from his past savings to be able to pay all the expenses, bills and leases of the several “toys” he had accumulated.
Soon enough, he started to live a life full of stress and anxiety. After sleepless nights of frustration, one day he thought “why don’t I cut open this hen and get all the eggs altogether so that I don’t have to wait every day.”
As stupid and absurd as this thought may sound, the farmer was not able to comprehend it in his mind as he was so indulged in his worldly chase and desires. He was completely blinded in his desperation. So he went on and slaughtered the hen. To his huge disappointment, he found there were no eggs. The hen produced a new egg every day within its body. Now without any golden eggs, and no hen to produce it, the farmer was unable to maintain the lifestyle that he desired to live. He had to leave the city and went back to his old home in the village. When he went to check his farmland, he found out they had become completely barren, unable to produce any crop.
The farmer then regretted and wished, if he had kept feeding the hen and keep it healthy and alive, he would not have to face this day. He also regretted that he became too arrogant and lost in the new worldly pursuit that he neglected and undermined his roots, his farmlands, and his fellow people.
Though several lessons can be derived from this tale, we are going to focus on the two major ones.
Source and Reward Balance
This is one of the most important things to keep in mind in any area of life. All the rewards that we get in life come from a certain source. The hen was the “Source” and the golden egg was the “Reward”. The biggest mistake that the farmer made was that in his greed and hurry, he destroyed the source. If he would have taken good care of the hen and kept it healthy, the hen would have continued to reward him with eggs.
If we observe, we find such examples all around us, in fact within our own lives.
Our bodies are a Source. Health and energy are the rewards that it gives. When people take their bodies for granted and abuse it with unhealthy, junk foods, smoking, overuse of medicine, overeating, oversleeping and lack of exercise, they are basically destroying their source of health and energy, and they might have to face regret and pay a heavy price in the future.
Similarly, our relationships, whether it be with spouse, children, relatives, friends, co-workers or colleagues, they all can be a source of Love & Affection and coolness of our eyes which makes our lives truly rich and colorful. When we take our relations for granted or try to fix thing with shortcuts such as imposing dominance, manipulation, lying, ignoring, we are essentially destroying our source of love, affection, and companionship. As a result, our relations start to produce discord, toxicity, misunderstandings, grudges, and loneliness in their lives. We neglected to feed the hen, and the hen got sicker with every passing day.
On the other hand, when we take time to consciously nourish these relations with genuine care, sincerity, transparency, and kindness. When we strengthen the bonds with pure, selfless and positive intent, we are feeding the source, the hen that will keep on laying eggs of Joy, Compassion, and Peace of mind throughout our lives.
In our professional lives, our clients/customers, co-workers, employees and work environment are the sources of the professional rewards that we seek. Unfortunately, many times people exploit their sources to temporarily get faster rewards. They exploit their employees or take unfair advantage of their clients/customers just for a temporary profit. Some people try to deceive and manipulate their bosses or colleagues. Some of us lower our work standards to reduce the cost which results in lower quality of the products or services. It might temporarily seem profitable but we are eventually going to lose the clients or the people that work with us. No source, No rewards.
This Source & Reward balance applies in almost everything.
Our Soul is the core of our existence. It is the ultimate source of absolute joy, peace and true happiness in life. Our soul needs the remembrance of Allah, good deeds, kindness, constant purification, Qur’an, mindfully and consciously performed Salah (Islamic prayer) to stay healthy and reward us with ultimate peace, happiness, and balance of life. If we take care of our soul the way we should on a daily basis, we are going to reap the rewards of a joyful, peaceful and content heart.
So it is clear that there are hens (sources) and golden eggs (rewards) in every area of our life.
If we are not going to feed and take care of our hens, they will eventually stop producing eggs, or even worse, if we try to slaughter our hens for instant rewards or temporary fixes, then we will be left with nothing!
The only key is to nourish the hen with love, care, and SINCERITY! That’s right, sincerity is very important. If your intentions are not pure and you are focusing just on your personal benefit, Allah will take away the sources of those rewards.
By the end of the day, we must remember that everything is ultimately from Allah. Allah has Power over everything and He has made certain laws and principles of life. We must keep each area of our lives in alignment with those laws and principles while having a pure intent and striving to become a better version of ourselves every single day.
Spending vs. Investing Mindset
The second major lesson is about the spending mentality vs. the investing mindset.
Now before you conclude that investment is just about money. Stop. Certain principles are universal in every area of life. Many of us have been blessed with so many golden eggs in different areas of our life like health, youth, intellect, time, money, relationships, contacts, skills, technology, even the internet! But many people never invest them in something productive. Something that will reap more rewards in the long run.
Here are just a few examples to get you started:
- Many of us who are blessed with health and energy can invest their energy in creating more health by exercising, making efforts to eat healthily and avoiding the foods, habits, and activities which can damage our health.
- If you have some money in your pocket, even if it’s a small amount. You can either spend it in partying out with friends, on junk food and fashion/clothing. Or you can buy a good book that will enhance your intellect and overall growth. You can also save up for a few months to attend some courses or programs that will help you grow in the long run. As a result of investing in yourself, in your mind, in your intellect, you greatly increase the possibility of attracting a lot more money and income than you currently have.
- Time. Very limited, but we all have it. Don’t say you don’t have it. If the top busiest CEOs and leaders have time to invest in themselves, then we have time to invest in ourselves. There’s no excuse left. While most people are just “spending” time or more interestingly “Killing time” or doing “time-pass” activities. There are people in the world who are investing most hours of their day in growing forward, becoming better and better every single day.
Be conscious of where you are using your time.
- Mind. How are we using our minds?
What do we put in our minds on a daily basis?
Do we allow garbage into our minds, like news, politics, vulgarity, sitting with the low mentality, low caliber people?
Do we use our intellectual abilities in gossiping,
in useless political debates, in complaining about how everything is so bad,
in discussing celebrity rumors and chatting about what other people are doing?Or we can choose to invest our mental capabilities in mastering our skills, in making long-term investments in learning beneficial knowledge, or in creative activities. Maybe developing some creative hobbies that are healthy for our mind. Sleeping and waking up early. Sitting with positive and wise people. Listening, watching and reading stuff that can actually help us grow. Maybe just refreshing our mind with an uninterrupted, peaceful walk in nature.
These are just a few examples to get you started. You can be creative and come up with your own.
The decisions that we make and the actions that we take Today may determine where we get in the long run. So make sure to use what you learn to make empowering shifts in the way you think and perceive. It’s amazing how a few small shifts in thinking can drastically transform our lives for better.
Till next time.