Many are familiar with the story about the scorpion who asked the frog if he could hitch a ride on his back in order to cross the lake. Assuring the skeptical frog that he wouldn’t sting him because “if I did, I would also drown” the frog relented and agreed.
As you know, partway across the scorpion did sting him. “As the frog was dying and about to sink them both, he asked, “why would you sting me knowing that you’re now going to die, too?” The scorpion famously replied, “It’s just my nature.”
Aesop’s brief, well-known fable serves as a warning that people generally act according to their nature or…character.
Scorpions sting and kill because, that’s simply what scorpions do.
It’s about character, isn’t it? We do what we do because of who we ARE. If we are a liar, we tell lies. If we are honest, we tell the truth. If we are undisciplined, we break promises we’ve made to ourselves. If we are disciplined, we show self-control.
Back to the scorpion. We all know those human scorpions, don’t we? Perhaps this scorpion deals dishonesty in business. You can bet he or she also deals dishonestly in their private lives. I’ve seen very few exceptions to that principle. As T. Harv Eker says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
If you know this about him or her personally or by reputation, you probably won’t want to associate with them and you certainly won’t want to do business with them.
But, what about the reverse scorpion? The man or woman who is totally and completely honorable; who does as promised; who stands firm on principle; who makes their win about the wins of those they deal with?
This is the person whose character is so high and so honorable — and his or her reputation the same — that you totally and absolutely trust that person to do right by you and everyone else involved.
And, they do!
Because, that’s who they are? So it’s what they do.
It’s just their nature.
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Great twist on a classic fable. While I agree 100% with your insights, I just want to point out that virtually all of us are somewhere in the middle. The key is to strive to emulate the ‘reverse scorpion’ by recognizing, accepting and consciously taking steps to address our human frailties.
Love your posts – your wisdom
Hearing this story (for the first time!) I can’t help but think of when my kids were little.
I would make “deals” with them ie. They wanted to watch TV BEFORE they finished their homework. And I would say “OK, but you HAVE to do your homework as SOON as that show is over.” And they would say “OK Mom!”
And then the show ended and a friend wanted them to come out and play and they would beg to do their homework later…”Oh pleeeeeeeease Mom? I PROMISE I’ll do it as soon as I come in!”
Never realized what a frog I was~I RAISED THREE SCORPIONS~ Oy vey!
Bill: Thank you for your kind comment. Indeed, it is a continuum, isn’t it? And, you’re right; the key is to strive to improve by following your three suggestions!
Linda: Meanwhile, knowing what your children have become and how much they truly love you, congratulations to you for raising three wonderful “scorpions.” 🙂
A great one, Mr Bob. Reserve Scorpion is what we look forward to being with & more than that we really need to be one of the kind. Thanks again for your wisdom…….
Thank you, Brother Rajib. So glad you enjoyed the post!
My internet connection has been spotty and VERY slow all week (they are working on it!) so I haven’t done much commenting this week. Saw this post and HAD to try! It’s one of my favorites!
Interestingly enough, it was a ‘scorpion’ who first told me the story! (grins)
You mentioned that how people are in business will generally be how they are in their personal lives. YES! Unless they are leading the double lives (i.e. the sexually abusive priest or anyone who intentionally chooses a reputable occupation to attract ‘prey’, abuse their trust, and carry out their ‘scorpion ways’ while hiding behind the innocuous image of ‘trust’.
On the other side of this is something I’ve heard some men refer to in a general sense. It’s basically compartmentalization. And I’ve encountered people who were horrible liars in their private lives turn around and declare with great passion they have integrity when it comes to business. And wholeheartedly believe this about themselves!
So it’s an interesting story, interesting topic, and not every scorpion ‘knows’ they are a scorpion! 🙂
Thanks for sharing my friend and I hope this posts!
Samantha: Sorry to hear about your internet connection. That can be frustrating. Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your experiences with us. Indeed, some scorpions are proud of being such. And, some can foll themselves into thinking they can “compartmentalize” their lives in the way they describe. I doubt it, though I don’t doubt that they do believe it about themselves. Thanks again!
I don’t like scorpions or spiders. Thanks for reminding me why. I do love the post. Off to London for a bit of R&R 🙂
Mitch: LOL! I don’t blame ya’! And, thank you for your kind words about the post. Enjoy your vacation Across the Pond!
Bob – great post and food for thought. I agree with Bill Ellis that there is a continuum. In addition, the process of becoming a “reverse scorpion” is intentional given that human nature tends to be selfish. What we read and who we associate with are large determinants of which way we move on the continuum.
Stan: Thank you. So glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback with us!
You are definitely a reverse scorpion; one with pinchers that grab nuggets of truth from the wells of wisdom and hold them out for those willing to be real.
WOW, thank you, Bill. So VERY kind of you to say. Much appreciated!
Great concept. Thank you
Leon: Thank YOU. Very appreciated!
I laughed when I read this post because if there ever were a “reverse scorpion” it’s you, Bob! No wonder you thought of them when reading the fable. Thank you for the cool thought. I’ll share it with my family when we watch Flash and the pursuit of the Reverse Flash. (Which is the reverse of a reverse scorpion. Hahahaaa)
Gina: Thank you, my friend. You are awesome and kind! And love that about the “Reverse Flash.” LOL
Interesting. Years ago, over 30, I asked the 75 year old merchant, Harry Freid, why he was so nice to me. He told me when he went to work at his father’s store at the age of 10 his dad pulled him aside. He said “Son, in retail and in life it doesn’t cost a dime to be nice to people.” Mr Freid said he remembered and lived by that from that very moment. He was in his 90’s when he died. That story was in his obituary. And I have lived by that for over 30 years.
Yet, what I was reminded of by the scorpion story was the story of the little boy that picked up the injured snake on the side of the road. It had been run over by a car, near death. He took the snake home, fed it, bathed it’s wounds, nursed it back to life. They were playing one day in the yard and the snake bit the little boy. The boy was shocked and asked, “Why did you bite me Mr. Snake? I saved your life.” And the snake replied, “Ah, little boy…. You knew what I was when you picked me up on the side of that road.” That story is more indicative of some, note, just a handful of people I have helped in my life. And it breaks your heart. It’s just some peoples’ nature.
Joe: Thank you. I greatly appreciate you sharing the story of Mr. Freid. What a wonderful example, and it’s certainly to your credit that you followed that example in your own life. Regarding the scorpions and snakes…they certainly do exist. And, they can break your heart indeed!