I came across this clever story that relates to thinking creatively…
In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark.
The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter.
He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him.
However, the catch was that he would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter.
Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.
The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble.
If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her.
If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.
Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles.
Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.
The daughter had three choices…
1. Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
2. Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
3. Pick a pebble from the bag knowing fully well it would be black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.
She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She then said to the loan-shark;
“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”
The pebble left in the bag was obviously black, and since as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.
Moral of the story: It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation through out-of-the-box thinking, and not give in to the only options you think you have to choose from.
So, the next time you find yourself stuck for a solution to a tricky problem or situation… maybe take a break.
Give your subconscious mind time to mull it around; you may come up with a solution you hadn't even thought of.