Enduring Life’s Challenges Will Give You The Strength To Reach Your Treasure

Editorial by Robert Kirwan   

   The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about how the younger generation today seems to expect to have everything handed to them on a silver platter. Not all young people fall into this category, but it is clear that many teenagers and young adults seem to feel as if they are “entitled” to things that previous generations had to work hard to achieve. If you know anyone who belongs to this “entitled generation” give them a copy of the following story.

   One day, a long time ago, a young man went to visit the oldest and wisest man in the village for some advice on how he could become rich and famous. The wise elder listened to the young man tell of his dreams and of his ambition to achieve success beyond that which anyone had ever imagined.

   “Fame and fortune is yours to be had at the top of yonder mountain,” advised the wise man, as he pointed to a tall mountain in the distance. “You must travel on foot to the top of the mountain. There you will find riches beyond your belief. When you arrive there you will have but one chance to claim the treasure for yourself. Once you leave the top of the mountain, whatever remains will be lost forever.”

   The young man was very excited and could hardly wait until the morning when he was to meet with the wise old man for final instructions. In the morning when he arrived at the wise old man’s home, the young man saw a long, thick log lying on the ground in front of the house.

   “What is that for?” asked the puzzled young man.

   “You must carry this log on your journey to the top of the mountain,” explained the wise old man.

   “But why?” the young man questioned. “What use is this log? It weighs so much and will slow me down on my journey. I want to claim my fortune quickly.”

   The wise old man merely looked at the young man, and then down at the heavy log, and quietly said, “The log is a necessary part of the journey. You must take it with you to the top of the mountain to claim your treasure.”

   The young man was not pleased with this sudden surprise, but he respected the wise old man and as he lifted the long, heavy log onto his shoulders and struggled down the road towards the mountain he realized that the trip would not be as easy as he thought.

   After he was walking for a while, a woodsman came up to him and said, “It looks like that log is pretty heavy. Would you like me to cut some of if off to make it lighter?”

   The young man was exhausted and with so much of the journey yet to be travelled, was afraid that he would never make it up the mountain with the heavy burden, so he said, “I suppose that a little bit cut off the end wouldn’t hurt. Thanks for your help”. And the woodsman cut eight inches off the end.

   The young man continued to struggle up the mountain and finally he arrived at the top. There at the very peak of the mountain was the most beautiful treasure he had ever seen. This was his dream. All that stood between him and his treasure was a wide opening in the earth which surrounded the mountain peak. The crevice was very deep and there was only one way to get across the opening. Now it became clear to the young man why the wise old man had given him this log to carry on his journey.

   The excited young man lay the log across the gap and discovered to his dismay that it was eight inches too short to span the distance. The eight inches that he had allowed to be cut off to lighten his load on his journey to his treasure. As he turned despondently to walk down the mountain side, he looked back with tearful eyes and saw his treasure slowly disappear.

   The young man learned a lesson that for many of us comes too late in life. Our dreams and our treasures are within our reach, but in order to get them we must first of all experience the struggles it takes to get there. Only then will we have what it takes to finally reach out and claim our treasure at the end of the journey. If we lighten the load too much along the way, our treasure may end up just out of reach.

   The next time you find yourself struggling with life’s challenges, remember that it will be all worth it when you finally reach the top of the mountain to claim your reward.

   Have a good week!

The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant