The Fable of an Apple Tree

This seems to be a famous story circulating around the internet. The original text is in Chinese (English translation follows):






I decided to try my hand and translate it into English (not word for word but rather a re-telling of the original meaning):

The Fable of Growth

An apple tree riped.

The first year, she produced 10 apples, 9 of them were taken away from her, only 1 she was able to keep. She was very upset and angry, so angry that she cut herself and refused to grow any more.

The second year, she produced 5 apples, 4 were taken away and one she kept. She thought, “last time I got only 10% and this time I got twice as much, 20%”. She felt better.

However, she could still keep growing. The next year she could produce 100 apples, 90 could get taken away and 10 left for her. Or, 99 get taken away and 1 left for her… but none of those should matter, she could still keep growing. The next year she could produce 1000 apples…

In the end, it’s not about how many apples she produces. What’s the most important is, she keeps growing! When she finally grows up and becomes a strong, mature apple tree, those which once had impeded her growth on her path will become distant and insignificant.

Remember, don’t count the apples. It’s the growing process that matters.

Analysis (shortened):

When it comes to work we too often focus on the material things such as a raise after a year’s hard work, manager’s notice and praises on what we have accomplished, etc.. When we do not get them, we feel unappreciated and under rewarded and as a result become discouraged and either work less hard and with less enthusiasm or worse, like the apple tree, refuse to grow altogether. By doing that, we are making the mistake of narrowing our focus on what the present reward is, not what the whole process brings. The latter brings growth, which is what life is really all about.

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5 responses to “The Fable of an Apple Tree

  1. Pingback: Another Fable: The Old Man and The Children « Between

  2. How to align the vision and mission of yourself and the vision and mission of the company is always a tricky one. I totally agree that the growth of oneself is more important than the growth of the organization you work for. It’s actually the responsibility of the organization to make sure those two are aligned.

  3. these are great stories~thanks for sharing~

  4. 完全同意,我老弟目前正面临类似的问题,我转了这篇文章给他。



  5. 很有道理。我想如果现状都已经让你几近窒息,没有任何空间可以成长了,那么即使一时有苹果,也应该好好想一想这是否能够持久的环境了。所以,苹果多少不是决定因素,能否成长才是。

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