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Who is looking after the goose?

The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs is a fable that tells the story of a poor farmer, who one day discovers, in the nest of his pet goose, a glittering golden egg […] Much to his surprise, the egg is pure gold!

White goose standing on country pathway

The farmer can’t believe his good fortune, and is even more surprised the next day when it happens again. Day after day rushes to the nest and finds another golden egg. But with his increasing wealth comes greed and impatience. Unable to wait day after day for the golden eggs, the farmer decides he will KILL the goose and get them all at once.

But when he opens his goose, he finds it empty. There are no golden eggs. And now there is no way to get anymore. The farmer has destroyed the goose that produced them.

There’s a lesson to be learned for anyone striving to achieve their goals. 

Most people focus on ‘golden eggs’ when thinking about productivity and effectiveness. Producing impressive short-term outcomes (money, social prestige etc.). But as the fable shows, true effectiveness is a function of two things: what’s produced (the golden eggs) and the capacity to produce (the goose).

If you adopt a pattern of life that focuses on golden eggs but neglects the goose, you’ll soon lose the asset that produces those golden eggs for you.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking our health and wellbeing for granted. 

We think: ‘I’ll just do some more work, as I’m on a roll. I don’t need to go for a run today, or go to the gym, or eat something healthy. It doesn’t matter if I skip a work out or miss out on a good night sleep. I’ll do it tomorrow… ’

The problem with that approach is that we’re focusing on producing more golden eggs in the short term but neglecting our production asset/capacity - in other words, the physical goose that makes all that possible.

Like any machine, we need basic maintenance to get good long-term results.

Effectiveness and true success lies in the balance: getting the desired results in a sustainable way.

So, if you want to be successful and maintain that success in the long term, you have to look after your health and wellbeing, not just work yourself to the ground.

Are you taking care of the goose?

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