All You Know is Rats

A wazir had been imprisoned by his ruler and remained in prison several years. His son grew up in prison. When he reached the age of reason, he asked his father about the meat which he had been eating. (His father) told him that it was mutton, and he asked him what that was. When his father described a sheep to him in all details, (the son) said,

“Father, you mean, it looks like a rat?”

His father was angry with him and said, “What has a sheep to do with a rat?”

The same happened later about beef and camel meat. The only animals he had seen in prison were rats, and so he believed that all animals were of the same species as rats.

That is part of the reason why meeting new people is so important. That is part of the reason why travel to different places is so important. That is why reading books is so, so important.

The most effective lesson you learn – whether you know it or not – is that there is more to life than just rats.

I thought I was hard working, till I met someone who made my efforts look like child’s play.

I thought I had it figured out, till I found out that my most important answers were the first part of the most trivial questions.

I thought I had succeeded in living my dream, till I found a better dream to live.

Philosophize this all you want, but remember please: there will always be rats.

So the question you need to ask yourself is, “what are the rats in my life and career?”

“If you can do one thing you thought was utterly impossible, it causes you to rethink your beliefs”
Tony Robbins

I did the impossible. I did something I thought I could not do, not so quickly at least.

For me, reading Richard Branson and Tony Robbins, I thought I had significantly redefined success for myself; I did not see success as working my behind off for someone else. I wanted to be self-employed. And at that time, it was a radical idea. If you are planning to do something that no one thinks you can do, then that is a radical idea.

But then what I thought would take my lifetime to achieve, I had it in the first three years out of college. Not that I was aiming low, but because that is how benchmarks and the unknown works.

You think it is impossible, till you go ahead and actually do it.

We need to keep challenging ourselves, if nothing else but to discover more of the truth.

Do you see any rats in your life that need to be redefined perhaps?


The story of the wazir and his son is taken from Ibn Khaldun‘s Muqaddimah.

The Tony Robbin’s quote is from his book Unlimited Power, a book I’d recommend on any given day.

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