The Giant Tree – Paulo Coelho
A carpenter and his apprentices were travelling through the province of Qi in search of building materials.
They saw a giant tree; five men all holding hands could not encompass its girth, and its crown reached almost to the clouds.
‘Let’s not waste our time with this tree,’ said the master carpenter. ‘It would take us for ever to cut it down. If we wanted to make a ship out of that heavy trunk, the ship would sink. If we tried to use it to build a roof, the walls would have to be specially reinforced.’
The group continued on its way. One of the apprentices remarked:
‘Such a big tree and no use to anyone!’
‘That’s where you’re wrong,’ said the master carpenter. ‘The tree was true to its own destiny.
“If it had been like all the others, we would have cut it down. But because it had the courage to be different, it will remain alive and strong for a long time yet.’
I’ve been reading Paulo Coelho for many years and he has great wisdom. I don’t always agree with everything he has to say, but then why would a person agree with everything another had another had to say. What would that make me if I did?
I like this story because it shows that it’s okay to be different. No-one’s path in life is truly set and if you stand out in the crowd you could find yourself been ridiculed or abandoned, but that only means that you have a different purpose in life to everyone else.
I think sometimes we all forget this, we all want to blend in and be like everyone else. Some may feel more comfortable just not drawing attention to themselves. Some are afraid of what others will say or do if they don’t follow the crowd.
Then there are some that stick out anyway, those who are physically different and can’t hide it. Those who have no wish to hide their opinions even it means they could be persecuted for it. These are the people that are generally remembered more.
Whether you wish to be like everyone else or have no desire to follow the crowd it’s always vital to remember that you are who you are and you should always follow your heart.