'This too shall pass'

 What if his enemies took away his kingdom and turned him into a nobody? These thoughts so tormented him that he asked one of his artisans to make a signet ring inscribed with a motto which would temper his happiness when he enjoyed good fortune and would lift his spirits when he was despondent.

The workman had no problems in making a magnificent ring, but could not think of a suitable motto. He went to a wise man who solved the problem. When the king looked at the ring, he was greatly pleased and rewarded the man suitably. He saw that the motto the ring bore would succeed well in reining in ecstasy as well as depression. Besides it would enable him to enter wider and greater realms of thought. Encapsulating a great deal of wisdom, these were the words that were engraved on the ring—‘This too shall pass.’ What, one may ask, was the extraordinary import that they contained? Those who care to ponder over them will see that they contain three great truths.

As the king rightly guessed, success often proves a stumbling block. It can give rise to excessive pride and arrogance which could interfere with and block the learning process. The successful person is tempted to think he knows all there is to know. He alienates those around him and loses their goodwill. Isolated by pride, he stops progressing and ends up a failure. The motto is a reminder that glory fades and success is never final.

The same principle holds good for failure as well. There is no need to let it overwhelm and discourage one’s spirits. There is always another chance, the promise of a fresh, new day. By learning from one’s mistakes, stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones. If success is never final, equally failure is never fatal.

The greatest truth of all though is that both success and defeat are ephemeral. They are part of this passing show that we call ‘Life.’ One cannot hold on to anything in life forever, for Death makes you leave everyone of your possessions behind. This is not as grim a thought as might appear. It is only when we come face to face with and acknowledge our mortality that we will begin to truly value life, spend it well and usefully and enjoy it too.

Many are the philosophies that exist and that we may choose from, but all of them have one piece of advice in common—‘Do not waste a single minute of precious time, for this too will pass.’

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