■ Ability to modify attitudes
■ Enjoyment ofyour attributes
Once there was a very short man—so short, in fact, that he had often been an actor, playing one of the dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The problem wasn't that he was small but that he was unhappy about being small. Sometimes, some people don't like to feel different from others.
He began to think about what he might do to become tall. Maybe he needed to do what someone tall did, so he went to the zoo to ask Mrs. Ostrich, the tallest bird in the world, "What do you do to be tall?"
"Well," said Mrs. Ostrich, "I've never really thought about it, but I think it must be that I stretch my neck down to the ground a lot to eat seeds or bury my head in the sand."
The man decided to try it. He started to peck seeds from the ground but found it difficult to bend down like the ostrich, and the seeds made him feel sick. He put a snorkel in his mouth so he could breathe and went to bury his head in the sand but, fortunately, he realized it was too dangerous and didn't do it ... and didn't grow an inch taller, either.
"There has to be a better way," he thought, so he asked the tallest animal. "Tell me, Mr. Giraffe, what do you do to be so tall?"
"Maybe it is because I reach up to eat the tender young leaves off the top of prickly trees," answered Mr. Giraffe. The small man, trying to copy the giraffe, stood on the tips of his toes and stretched up. As there was no way he could stretch to the top of the prickly tree, he decided to climb up to the tender leaves at the top. The sharp prickles scratched him, he started to bleed, and when he finally got to the top, it was only to find the leaves tasted worse than seeds. He hadn't grown an inch, and he felt really sick.
If Mrs. Ostrich and Mr. Giraffe can't help me, thought the unhappy small man, maybe I need to find a really tall person and see what they do.
After a bit of searching, he found Mr. Basketball. Standing barely as tall as Mr. Basketball's knee, he looked up and asked, "What do you do to be so tall?"
"I work out at the gym a lot, run around the basketball court, and bounce balls," answered Mr. Basketball. So the short man devoted several months to working out at the gym, running around the basketball court, and bouncing balls. He wanted to give this a really good go but, once again, he didn't grow a fraction of an inch.
As tall creatures had not helped, he decided he needed someone wise, so he visited old Mrs. Owl.
"Can you tell me how to be tall?" he asked.
"Tell me," asked Mrs. Owl, "why do you want to be taller than you are?"
"Well," replied the small man, "I suppose I could win a fight if I got into one."
"How often do you get into fights?" asked the owl.
"Oh, not very often," said the small man. "In fact I can't remember ever being in one. But maybe if I was bigger, people might respect me more."
"Do people disrespect you now?" asked Mrs. Owl.
"No, not really," said the small man.
"Is there anything that you could do as a tall person that you can't do now as a short person?" continued the owl.
"Not really," answered the small man, thoughtfully. "I sure know I don't want to peck seeds from the ground, bury my head in the sand, eat leaves from the tops of prickly trees, or bounce balls endlessly. I have tried them all and they are not for me."
"So what can you do now," asked Mrs. Owl, "that you wouldn't be able to do if you were tall?"
"Well," said small man, "I can play one of the dwarfs in the Snow White plays and bring a lot of laughter and happiness to young children. I can meet young children at their own level and, consequently, enjoy much better times with them than most adults do."
He saw a smile lift in the corners of Mrs. Owl's beak, and felt a smile on his own happy, short face as he spoke.
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