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Force of habit
By Stuart Kerner

One day a man found an old book in his loft. The book was so ancient that it had turned yellow and many of the pages fell apart as he turned them.

Eventually he saw that it was a book about magic but, sadly, he simply could not make sense of any part of it except for one single page. The writing on this page suggested that on the shores of the nearby sea there was a stone that could turn anything it touched into gold. This stone, it said, could only be identified from all the others in the sea by feeling it – unlike the other rocks it was said to be hot to the touch.

The man quickly ran to the shores of the nearby sea and started to look for the magic stone. From morning to night he would examine each stone he came across and feel it carefully.

To make sure he did not lift the same stone twice he would toss every stone he picked up, far out into the sea.

Days became weeks, and weeks became months and eventually months became years. Nevertheless, every day the man went out to sea to look for the miraculous stone. But every rock he examined was as cold as could be and he tossed them away as quickly as he pulled them out of the sea. By now the man had become so accomplished at it that he could pick up a stone and toss it far out to sea in one smooth stroke.

At the end of a long day, as he was leaving the beach, tired after another day’s fruitless search, the man saw a stone in front of him. He drew it up. It was scorching hot – at last the magic stone. But, before realizing, as he always did – out of force of habit – he tossed it far out to sea!

Do you always remain alert to new possibilities or do you just go through life doing the same old thing. How many opportunities have you missed?


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