Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Law of Successful Living


I am impressed by an incident that happened during the pianist Ignacy Paderewski's career. The famous Polish musician and politician agreed to play a concert organized by two Stanford University students working their way through school. Paderewski's manager said they would have to guarantee the artist a fee of $2,000. The boys agreed and eventually the concert was held.

Though the two student promoters worked hard, they took in only $1,600. Discouraged, they told Paderewski of their efforts and handed him the $1,600 with a note promising to pay him the balance of $400. But the artist tore up the note and gave them back the $1,600. "Take your expenses out of this," he said, "give yourselves each 10% of what's left for your work, and let me have the rest."

Years later, Paderewski was faced with feeding the people of his war-ravaged Poland. Amazingly, even before a request was made, thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland by the United States.

Paderewski later traveled to Paris to thank Herbert Hoover, who headed up the US relief effort. "That's all right, Mr. Paderewski," said Hoover, "I knew that the need was great. And besides, though you may not remember it, I was one of two college students whom you generously helped when I was in need."

The story illustrates a law of successful living: sooner or later we will reap what we sow. Paderewski reaped a harvest of kindness he had sown years before. Those who sow love will eventually reap love. Those who sow goodness will reap even more. Those who sow fear and mistrust will reap an unwanted harvest later.

It's a basic law of successful living. And powerful enough to change a life.

-- Steve Goodier

Image: flickr.com/Renaud Camus

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