Motivation can come completely unexpectedly

Published 6:30 pm Friday, August 2, 2019

I heard Mr. Zig Ziglar tell a story once that taught me a great deal about motivation — something that probably is more important than opportunities, good breaks and even talent. Without it, we hardly get the car out of the driveway.

I bet today you’re looking for a little extra motivation to get you going. I can’t promise the story I’m about to relate will give it to you — but it will definitely motivate you to laugh.

Read on.

There was once a west-Texas rancher who had one of the biggest spreads in the whole state. It had the finest grazing land, the best water and trees around, and a beautiful view. One day he decided to have as many of the young, single, up-and-coming businessmen around to come to his ranch for a huge get together. But it wasn’t just a get together. He wanted to teach the young men a great lesson in motivation because he knew that their motivation ultimately would determine their success.

As the party neared an end that night, he called all of the young men out to an Olympic-size swimming pool he had built, a pool he had the foresight to stock with alligators and water moccasins. He gathered those boys around the pool and said,

“Boys, I want to see who will be the first one to swim across this pool. If you can be that first one, I have a splendid prize to give you. I will give you 100 of the very best acres on my land. But if you don’t want that, I will give you a million dollars. And if you don’t want that, I will give you my beautiful daughter to marry. She is the only heir of all of this huge estate, so you will end up having it all.”

About that time, the rancher heard a splash in the water at the end of the pool. He looked and saw a young man swimming with blazing speed the length of that pool. It would have been a world record, no doubt, as he tore out through the snakes and alligators. When he reached the other end and climbed out with his suit and tie drenching wet, all the other young men ran to him to congratulate him, as did the rancher. The rancher greeted him with a big Texas smile and a hearty handshake, and said,

“Well, son, congratulations. You have just earned yourself a big payday. I’m a man of my word, so tell me what it is that you want. Do you want me to give you 100 of the best acreage on my ranch?”

“No sir,” the young man answered.

“Well, do you want the million dollars. It’s all yours for swimming the length of this pool.”

“No sir,” the man answered again.

“So, I suppose, then, you want me to give you my beautiful daughter in marriage?”

“Oh, no sir,” the man responded.

“Well,” said the rancher, perplexed. “If you don’t want any of these things, what is it that you want?”

“Sir,” the young man answered, “I’d really just like to know which one of these fellas pushed me in the pool.”