Keys to a Fulfilling Life

Once there was a paper recycling factory that shreds waste paper into new paper. This factory was located in the suburbs of a handicraft town. As there is a stinky smell emanating from the factory due to the pulp making process and so on, this factory was not in a residential area and not many people liked to work there due to the distance and the bad smell.

However there was a limited staff working in this factory among which there was a wise very old man, who had been working since his adolescence as a senior technician. He knew and was an expert in the process of paper making and knew almost everything in the factory and had a good memory about the inventory in the factory, in fact he could remember each nut and bolt in the shredder and their sizes and where the spare nuts are kept incase of emergency and so on.

Among the limited staff in this factory there was a young adolescent who was working in this factory. He was good at the work; he was obedient, diligent, hardworking, persevering and humble and down to earth however when he gets to talk he talks a lot.

The old technician was the mentor of this young adolescent. This old technician taught him all the operations like managing the waste paper, segregating the paper, shredding the paper, soaking the paper and making pulp in batches and so on.

Due to the mentor – trainee relationship and mostly because the fact that the old technician always remembered his roots joining this factory as an adolescent like his trainee, was very keen to see this adolescent boy learning all the skills required in the factory and not only in the factory but also to see him excel in life in general.

Also this old technician noticed that this adolescent boy was a good learner when compared to others in the factory.

However one day the old technician during the lunch hour told this young boy to talk less, work more instead. This humble young boy listened to the old technician and corrected himself, since then, he was engrossed with learning more and becoming like his expert old mentor and talked a few words but worked more.

The old man was pleased by his progress. 12 years passed and the old senior technician reached his retirement age and retired and was happy to see his apprentice becoming a technician. The senior technician wished him well on the farewell day and told his apprentice “  whenever you need help, please let me know”.

The new technician was sad to see him leaving but never forgot his words and the advice he gave him including all the tricks of the trade. The new technician worked hard and diligently as he used to be.

After working for many years, with the same wage he got as a trainee though he began a technician working with a lot of perseverance and becoming very conversant with the entire process of the factory he got very upset because other co workers who used to join after him and didn’t know much about the operations were promoted and their salaries were increased but nothing in return to this trainee or the new technician.

He was so sad and recalled the words of the retired senior technician on his farewell day. Then he decided to meet him. This young technician visited the neighborhood of the old retired technician and kept on asking where his house is located. People helped him to locate his house and he was so pleased with them, and knocked at the old retired technician’s door.

He opened the door and was so pleased to see his trainee who is now the technician. However the young boy was having a sunken face. Then the old man asked him to come inside and asked him

“What’s the matter my dear son”?

Then the young boy unveiled his story at the factory.

He said “ I have been following your instructions exactly all these years no matter what i work on, I keep quiet and focus on the job, I know I have done good work at the factory and I have learned all the skills that can be learned there through your support, what I don’t understand is that the guys who don’t have my experience or capabilities have all been promoted while I am still making as little as i did before when i was your apprentice”

The old man asked the young boy “are you sure you are an indispensable necessity to the factory”.

The boy nodded and said “yes sir”.

Then the old man kept on thinking for a while and told the boy “Look here, my dear, it is high time for you to take a break. So give a reason and take time off for a few days”.

The young boy who didn’t have patience to listen to the rest of what the mentor was going to say, the young boy was shocked to hear this response went to a corner and kept on thinking and thought that what his mentor said was sensible.

He said “Thank you sir, for your suggestion, I will do accordingly” and went away to meet the factory manager and asked for leave. He was given a few days leave upon his request and took time off to spend time in a farmhouse. He packed everything that evening and set off to take a good time in a farmhouse in the countryside.

Following day morning while he was walking along the countryside he got calls from the factory manager several times asking where things were, how to operate the machines, where the switches were and so on and the manager asked whether he could come soon for work.

This young technician said to his manager ‘yes sure’ I will and he set off the following morning from the farmhouse to the factory. The manager asked him to come to his office. Then the manager told  the technician that things did not go well at the factory during his absence.

Others encountered many problems that normally would be handled by him and they had no idea how to solve them. The manager, realizing his importance, decided to promote him to the position of senior technician as a reward to thank him and encourage him to keep up the good work.

The young man thanked the manager and after work he set off to meet the old man. He unveiled his success and reached home happily. The young man was grateful for his mentor’s wisdom and surely he thought this was the secret to Success.

From this point on whenever the young man felt like he deserved more than what he was getting he would take a day off when he came back the next day the situation would improve to his satisfaction this pattern continued for months.

One day when this senior technician was trying to enter the factory, he could not enter though he swiped his identity card from the factory. He asked the security personnel and they didn’t utter a word. They were all confused. When he went back home that morning itself, he had received a letter of service termination from the factory manager. He was so upset that he decided to meet the retired mentor at his place.

He unveiled what happened and asked the mentor “Why did I lose my job? What was the cause of this? Didn’t I do everything as you instructed ?” asked the young boy.

Actually you did not because you heard only half the lesson, the old man shook his head. No one pays attention when a light bulb is always on. As soon as the light bulb goes dead people take notice of it. Then the people realize that they have taken the bulb for granted.

You applied this principle and thought that the factory has taken you for granted without listening to my second half of the advice which I was going to tell you the other day. The second half!  What was it? asked the young boy who exclaimed.

The second half is more important than the first one my dear son told the wise old man, the mentor, continued to tell him that If a bulb goes off on and on soon it would be replaced by a new one because no one would rely on an untrustworthy bulb that doesn’t give illumination consistently.

The young boy realized that he didn’t have the patience to listen to the advice by the mentor but thanked him for his guidance and left home with his head upright.

In life we have friends and family members that we take for granted; they’re always there for you therefore you don’t take them seriously. What happens if one day they are no longer there. Do not wait for such a day to suddenly realize how important they are.

Give thanks today for the good fortune of having them in your life also don’t let yourself being taken for granted but at the same time do your work and don’t stop everything you do just because it doesn’t go the way you want it to go find the balance in life and life will reward you with giving you the balance back.

Life has goals to achieve like getting a good job, having a house and so on. These worldly things can emerge and fade away but love, kindness, compassion,gratitude are everlasting, going beyond goals to achieve in life.