KAIZEN™ Story: Don’t be a stumbling block

Once upon a time, there was a painter who had just completed his course. He took three days and painted beautiful scenery. He wanted people’s opinion about his caliber and his painting skills. He displayed his creation at a busy street crossing. Next to it was a caption, which read – “I have painted this piece. Since I’m new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake.”

When he came back in the evening to collect his painting, he was completely shattered to see that the whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses). Some people had even written their comments on the painting! Disheartened and completely broken, he ran to his master’s place and burst into tears. The young artist was breathing heavily and master heard him saying, “I’m useless. And if this is what I have learnt to paint, I’m not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely. I feel like dying,”

The Master smiled and suggested, “My Son, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learnt flawless painting. Do as I say without questioning it. It WILL work.” The young artist reluctantly agreed. Two days later, early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master. The Master took it gracefully and smiled. “Come with me.” the Master said. They reached the same street square, and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now the Master took out another board, which read –

“Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I’m new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do me a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it.”

The Master and disciple walked back home. Both of them returned in the evening. The young painter was surprised to see that there was not a single correction made so far. Again, the next day they came back and found the painting untouched. The painting was kept there for a month. No correction came in!

Moral of the story:

“It is easier to criticize, but DIFFICULT TO IMPROVE!”

“Each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another any more. Instead, let us never be a stumbling block or hindrance to others”.

Contributed By: Mr. Vinod Grover, Director – Kaizen Institute AIM

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