Sunday, March 29, 2009

Journey to perfection

Once upon a time, in an ancient city there lived a potter. He used to make pots and beautiful toys made of baked earthen clay, and sell them in the market to make a living. He also had many disciples and among them there was this special one who was remarkable. This disciple absorbed everything his master had to teach him. Soon the disciple started his own business of selling wonderful baked clay objects. His reputation spread by word of mouth and he soon became famous. All his goods were sold within hours. He sold all his items expect one. He would take that item to his master. The master used to have one look at the item and hand him a list of defects in the item. The disciple would then go back to his workshop and try and remove the defect and the next lot would be that much better. And he continued to take the last piece of his inventory to the master and the master would invariably tell him where he could improve.

This went on for many years. By now the disciple was very famous and rich. And he was getting tired of his master handing him over a list of defects. So this time when his master again told him how he could make the items better, he snapped, "I am already best in the business. My pots and toys sell at prices that are many times more than yours. And you still point out my faults."

The old master smiled and said, "Oh is that so? I think you will not improve any more. Your goods will continue to sell at today's price but you will never get more than this. Your journey to perfection ends today."

My uncle narrated this story to me a long time ago. Those were the days before Internet and I was too small to ask for the source. So I assume this story is his own creation. And it is worth putting it out to the world. I would definitely like to know the source. Anyone?

Picture courtesy: Sarah Lewis

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