Story 2 of 72 in the book, “72 Stories of God, Good and Goods“, published in 1989:

Once somebody told a wise man, “I want to be a politician.”

The wise man remarked, “It is a very expensive ob.”

“Well,” asked the man, “is there any cheap way to become a successful politician?”

“Yes,” answered the wise man, “there is.  Just be thankful to everybody.”

“Do you mean I should never say, ‘no’?  Should I only say, ‘yes’ to people?” asked the man.

The wise man said, “Say ‘yes’ and ‘no’, but say them thankfully.  Sweet language can make you the king of the universe.  That doesn’t mean that when you are sweet you should be shaky or that you should be shallow.   Instead, you should be firm.”

So, the next day the man came once again to see the wise man and said, “Can you please lend me five hundred dollars?”

The wise man said, “I am so grateful that you have come.  You have asked me for five hundred dollars; you have trusted me that I can afford five hundred dollars for you.  It is really so wonderful to know that you, as a friend, think I can afford to give five hundred dollars to you and I definitely think I should.  But gladly I will tell you a secret:   I don’t have it.  He never said to him, “Get out of here.  I don’t have twenty cents much less five hundred dollars.”  He never lost his equilibrium.  He remained steady.

The next day the same man appeared again.  He said, “Friend, yesterday you didn’t have five hundred dollars.  I forgot to ask you one thing.  Can I ever get five hundred dollars from you if I need it?”

The wise man replied, “My dear friend, always.  I will always be grateful that you think I might have five hundred dollars.  I will always be glad to give it to you. But do me a favor, too.  Pray that I should have many, many, many times five hundred dollars and that I should give you money any time, whenever you come and ask it of me.”  So, in this way, he got someone to pray for him, and still he never gave him any money.

Remember, this attitude of gratitude is what makes a person great.  If you ever want to be great, this is the minimum requirement.

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