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Are you giving people piles? STOP! Cut the crap and give real value.

Picture credit:  digipam


Sometimes you come across a story.

Having read it you think "Wow, that makes an important point, and does it so well I know I'll remember!".

When you discover one you say "I'll share it with others, they'll love it, get the point, and find it helpful".

I've found such a story.  Want to hear it?

A mighty ruler wants treasure.  But since he doesn't want anyone to know he wants treasure, he asks his subjects to each bring him a giant truck full of dirt, hoping he'll find at least a small piece of gold, a precious stone, or maybe a coin in each load.  The loyal subjects do as they're asked and soon the ruler has piles.  (Not those piles, piles of dirt! Ha!)  Anyway, the king spends hours, days, weeks, looking through the dirt, sifting it by hand.

One day a young lad finds an amazing diamond in the mud by a river.  Since the ruler asked for dirt, the boy (thinking he'll upset the daft despot if he brings only the diamond) buries it in a huge pile waiting to be delivered in his dad's dumper truck. 

The ruler spends every waking hour searching through the muck, though he may never find the diamond. 

Is that what the silly ruler wanted?  I don't think so!

Photo credit:  Stinkie Pinkie

Anyway, what's the point of the story?

I bet you can draw out lots of points.  But I'll choose one and nail it with a couple of questions:  When we do stuff for our customers, readers, colleagues, family, or friends, are we giving them piles of useless crap that get in the way of what good we do have?  Is the whole experience spoiled because folk have to work so hard wading through our clutter, just to get at those few small blobs of value?

Here's a thought: 

Since we're bombarded with so many options, our time is limited, and our attention even more.  So, will we choose someone who offers us a few tiny nuggets buried in piles of unnecessary crap, or those who pick the precious gems out, clean them up, and present them neatly in a little box?  Who do you think?

Oh yea, the story of the mighty ruler, good wasn't it? (I read a version of it here.)

Yea, but why the heck did he not just make his subjects bring treasure?  I mean who on earth asks for giant piles of dirt?  What did he tell people he was going to do with it?  And once sifted, did he ask his subjects to come back and take it away?

Hey, I don't know!

Bloomin' made-up stories, there's more crap in that one than there are diamonds!


Cheers for reading. I totally love your comments.  What other points could you make from "the mighty ruler and his piles" story?  Do tell, it's always great to hear from you.  Much love, Ian.


Think Better.  Feel Better.  Take an Aspin.


Your comments:

headstuffing says:
14/10/2010 05:52:01

Thanks for that story Ian!


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  • Ian AspinLocation: Lancaster Lake District, UK
  • Bio: I’m passionate about my work:TV journalist, producer, presenter, business ideas person. I care about: family, friends, helping people, finding meaning, running