The Five Most Important Words of Wisdom

Last night a good friend of mine told a brief story to a gathering of people about the final wisdom that an aging sage left for his followers. The followers of this ancient sage visited him in his old age to share with him the sixteen volumes of his teachings that they had painstakingly compiled, a work that they hoped would enrich the world.

He was pleased with their work, but when faced with the immensity of the writings, he suggested that they might try to condense it into something that more people would read. They committed to do so.

A year later his followers returned with a single volume that was only a thousand pages long. He praised their work, but encouraged them to condense it further as he felt that few people would read a 1,000 page volume.

Months later they returned with a single page of his wisdom. He said, This is fabulous, but I know with a little more effort you can distill this even further.”

Months went by and finally his followers visited him again. They seemed pleased with themselves and excited to share their now completed work with him. Now on his death bed he asked to see what they had come up with. He read the five words that were written, smiled and then said, “You have captured perfectly the message I have tried all my life to impart.”

The five words read: “THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH.”

My friend explained after telling this story, “You have to pay a price for any success that you would enjoy in the future. Commit now to pay that price.”

When talking about the price of success we should always remember that the “price of success is less than the price of failure.”


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