The Ant or the Grasshopper? A Reason to Give Thanks
The fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. While I believe in the power of giving thanks daily, if not hourly, this day offers an additional opportunity to reflect on things I’m grateful for.
After family, home, and friends, one of the biggest things I’m thankful for this year is the opportunity to choose whether to be an ant or a grasshopper. Better still, it’s not a one-time opportunity. Every single day I can choose to be an Ant or a Grasshopper– and so can you.
The Grasshopper makes excuses about not having enough education; the Ant goes to the library and checks out books on everything she needs to know.
The Grasshopper wishes he had a computer; the Ant goes to the Library and uses one there until she’s saved enough to buy her own.
The Grasshopper explains that it takes money to make money; the Ant begins a microbusiness and patiently invests and reinvests her profits (tiny at first) back into the business.
The Grasshopper wishes he had time to write the book he keeps talking about; the Ant decided to write for 30 minutes a day, and in less than a year, her book was finished.
The Grasshopper has had a world-changing, fortune-making idea for decades, but he’s never quite gotten around to making it happen; the Ant has steadily created and supplied small, perhaps even ordinary or imperfect things to the world, creating many happy customers.
The Grasshopper lives from paycheck to paycheck in an effort to keep up with the Jones; the Ant happily drives a ten-year-old car, takes affordable vacations, and lives debt-free.
The Grasshopper stays busy critiquing the government, big business, and all the other things that keep him from getting ahead; the Ant is too busy doing the work she loves, providing employment for others, and being a productive citizen to spend time complaining.
The Grasshopper complains that greedy people like the Ant should pay more taxes; the Ant quietly tithes and generously supports the charities of her choice.
If you’re reading this, you’ve been blessed as I have. You have the ability to read and access to a computer. With those two gifts, you have what it takes to start your own microbusiness and change your life. That’s what I had when I began many years ago, and it’s been an amazing journey. I’m grateful for the freedom to decide whether to be an Ant or a Grasshopper (and for the opportunity to make the decision anew each day if I haven’t stayed focused).
I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude and joy.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
From Aesop’s Fables
In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.”
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: “It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions.
Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful, good society’ which shall now be Rome’s,
interpreted to mean: more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero