Stone Soup

May 7, 2015 Colin

A long time ago, in a tiny medieval village, a farmer spotted three soldiers on the edge of town.

Knowing what would likely happen next, he ran into the marketplace shouting a warning: “Quick, close the doors, lock the windows! There are hungry soldiers coming and they’ll take away all our food.”

The soldiers were in fact hungry.

When they enter the village, they start knocking on doors, asking for something to eat.

The first villager told them that his cupboards were bare. At the next, the second villager tells them the same. The next door doesn’t even open.

Finally one of the starving soldiers says, “I have an idea—let’s make stone soup.”

With that he knocks on yet another door. “Excuse me,” he says to the villager, “do you have a cauldron and some firewood? We would like to make some stone soup.”

The villager, thinking there’s no risk, says, “Soup from stones? This I’ve got to see. Sure, I’ll help.” So she gives them a cauldron and some firewood while another soldier gets some water.

They bring the water to a boil and place three large stones in the pot.

News spreads around the town and the villagers begin to gather. “Soup from stones,” they say. “This we have to see. I had no idea you can make soup from stones,” says one villager.

“Sure can,” reply the soldiers.

Eventually, tired of standing around, another villager asks, “Can I help?”

“Perhaps,” says a soldier, “if you had a few potatoes to spare, that would make the stone soup even better.”

The villager quickly fetches some potatoes and adds them to the pot of simmering stones.

Another asks, “How can I help?”

“Well, a dozen carrots would sure make the soup even better.” The villager fetches some carrots. Soon others are adding poultry, barley, garlic, and leeks.

After a while one of the soldiers calls out, “It’s done,” and shares the soup with everyone to taste and enjoy.

The villagers are heard saying, “Soup from stones! It tastes fantastic. I had no idea.”

This story is recounted in an inspiring and fantastic book called “Bold” By; Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

The reason I shared this story is to relate the idea of this concept to achieving success. In the story the soldiers have something they want, which is food. We all have something we want or some level of success that we want.  In the book he relates this to entrepreneurship, which is how I relate.  A successful business is what I want. I have the want, the next thing to get is the stones which is my passion, my labor and idea!  Which also applies to any level of achievement or life goal, not just entrepreneurship.  “Want” isn’t enough!  You need have the passion for your idea, then be able to work for it.  In fact the passion -the stones are the key to success for the soldiers.  It’s the passion that peeks the villagers interest.  Once interested the people are involved, they want to see this happen.  So, naturally they start to help, even without your having to ask them. These people are your family, friends, colleagues and people you meet on the way to you end goal, they will add to your soup.  Things like support, resources and even capital.  But you have to be careful because most people will sense disingenuous intentions. But if you are truly about your idea, you will be contagious.

Don’t manage people, manage expectations.

Same Walton