Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems
At the airport, Hugh Maclellan Jr. saw an acquaintance who looked troubled. “What’s the matter?” Hugh asked. The man sighed. “I thought I was finally going to have a weekend to myself. But now I have to go supervise repairs on my house in Florida.” Dejected, he sat waiting to take off in his private jet.
The Nine Men and a Goat
In Budapest, a man goes to the rabbi and complains, “Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?” The rabbi answers, “Take your goat into the room with you.” The man in incredulous, but the rabbi insists. “Do as I say and come back in a week.”
A week later the man comes back looking more distraught than before. “We cannot stand it,” he tells the rabbi. “The goat is filthy.” The rabbi then tells him, “Go home and let the goat out. And come back in a week.” A radiant man returns to the rabbi a week later, exclaiming, “Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat — only the nine of us.”
George Mikes, How to be Decadent.
We have a serious problem:
All of us think we’re good people.
But Jesus says we’re not.
Sincerely, Brant P. Hansen
…PS. IF YOU THINK I’M WRONG—about how we think we’re good people—I offer this challenge: Go ahead and ask someone. Seriously, if you’re reading this at a coffee shop, ask the stranger sitting at the next table, “So, are you a good person? Would you say you’re more moral than the average person?”
Given my studies in this area, I can predict their response with 98 percent confidence, and it’s “I’m calling the police.” But while the authorities are being dispatched, try to get a serious answer.
If they give you their honest take, you’ll hear something like, “Why, yes, I do think I’m more moral than the average person.” This is predictable because social scientists have asked these questions for decades, and the result is the same: We all think we’re more moral than average. It’s remarkable how good we are. Just ask us, and we’ll tell you about it.
A Walled City
If you think of a problem as being like a medieval walled city, then a lot of people will attack it head-on, like a battering ram. They will storm the gates and try to smash through the defenses with sheer intellectual power and brilliance. I just camp outside the city. I wait. And I think. Until one day — maybe after I’ve turned to a completely different problem — the drawbridge comes down and the defenders say, “We surrender.” The answer to the problem comes all at once.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our quotes page on the Problems. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!