How Much Are You Worth?

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A short parable about self-confidence
Once, a youth went to see a wise man, and
said to him:
’I have come seeking advice, for I am
tormented by feelings of worthlessness and
no longer wish to live. Everyone tells me that
I am a failure and a fool. I beg you, Master,
help me!’
The wise man glanced at the youth, and
answered hurriedly: ’Forgive me, but I am
very busy right now and cannot help you.
There is one urgent matter in particular
which I need to attend to…’ — and here
he stopped, for a moment, thinking, then
added: ’But if you agree to help me, I will
happily return the favour.’
’Of…of course, Master!’ muttered the youth,
noting bitterly that yet again his concerns
had been dismissed as unimportant. ’Good’,
said the wise man, and took off a small ring
with a beautiful gem from his finger.
’Take my horse and go to the market square!
I urgently need to sell this ring in order
to pay off a debt. Try to get a decent price
for it, and do not settle for anything less than
one gold coin! Go right now, and come back
as quick as you can!’
The youth took the ring and galloped off.
When he arrived at the market square,
he showed it to the various traders, who
at first examined it with close interest. But
no sooner had they heard that it would sell
only in exchange for gold than they
completely lost interest. Some of the traders
laughed openly at the boy, others simply
turned away. Only one aged merchant was
decent enough to explain to him that a gold
coin was too high a price to pay for such
a ring, and that he was more likely
to be offered only copper, or at best, possibly
silver.
When he heard these words, the youth
became very upset, for he remembered the
old man’s instruction not to accept anything
less than gold. Having already gone through
the whole market looking for a buyer among
hundreds of people, he saddled the horse and
set off. Feeling thoroughly depressed by his
failure, he returned to see the wise man.
’Master, I was unable to carry out your
request’, he said. ’At best I would have been
able to get a couple of silver coins, but you
told me not to agree to anything less than
gold! But they told me that this ring isn’t
worth that much.’
’That’s a very important point, my boy!’ the
wise man responded. Before trying to sell
a ring, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to establish
how valuable it really is! And who can
do that better than a jeweller? Ride over
to him and find out what his price is. Only
don’t sell it to him, regardless of what
he offers you! Instead, come back
to me straightaway.’
The young man once more leapt up on to the
horse and set off to see the jeweller. The
latter examined the ring through
a magnifying glass for a long time, then
weighed it on a set of tiny scales. Finally,
he turned to the youth and said:
’Tell your master that right now I can’t give
him more than 58 gold coins for it. But
if he gives me some time, I will buy the ring
for 70.’
’70 gold coins?!’ exclaimed the youth.
He laughed, thanked the jeweller and rushed
back at full speed to the wise man. When the
latter heard the story from the now animated
youth, he told him: ’Remember, my boy, that
you are like this ring. Precious, and unique!
And only a real expert can appreciate your
true value. So why are you wasting your time
wandering through the market and heeding
the opinion of any old fool?’

Miss Anyetta. Thank you.

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