One of my favorite Aesop fables is the Scorpion and the Frog. There are many variations to this famed fable, but the short of it is as follows:
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out. But in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”
There are many things one can take from this short story. But here are the main points that jump out at me.
Accept Your Inner Scorpion
Ask a bunch of people if a person can change, and you will get various answers. Some will say of course people can change, others will say that no in fact one cannot change their true selves. I tend to agree with the latter.
Everyone can change their physical attributes with clothing, diet, makeup and/or exercise. But can you really change your ingrained personality? Well yes and no if you ask me. You can learn social skills to become less introverted. You can practice controlling your anger if you have issues. You can attend alcoholics anonymous to get that drinking problem under control.
But in reality these are band-aids to the problem. If you were placed in an environment where it was not necessary to be social to be accepted and/or succeed, you’d revert back to your introverted ways. Give that alcoholic a consequence-free setting and an open bar, and you can bet he will start drinking. Piss off that guy in anger management class and he’ll come out in a full rage.
The key is to realize who you really are, and accept that about yourself. Once you accept that you love to drink, or that you should not be in a relationship, or that you are horrible at math, you will be better off. Ever see someone go on a crash diet only to stuff themselves with a pound of cheesecake one day? How about the guy who was pressured into marriage and then gets to go away for a weekend, only to end up fucking anything that walked by him? Knowing your nature can help you adjust your life accordingly and generally be happier. Otherwise once that scorpion’s sting surfaces, it may cause some significant damage.
Never Be The Frog
I can relate this to my own personal story from many moons ago. Boy (me) meets girl at wedding and has sex with her hours later. Girl acts like its no big deal. Girl admits she’s had more partners than her age. Girl admits she was a stripper. Girl admits she has a past of sexual abuse. Girl admits she has never been faithful to any partner in the past, but that this time, boy is different. Girl will not cheat and will be the best girlfriend in the world.
Boy ignores the obvious nature of this particular scorpion. Boy believes girl’s promise to not cheat and be faithful. So boy dates girl seriously, and they become a couple. One year later, the scorpion surfaced and stung the frog. The girl cheats on boy because, well, that was her nature.
Be smart enough to realize that despite what someone tells you, it will be his or her nature that controls and not their empty promises. While I learned this the hard way, I’m glad I did. Whether it’s a girl, a deadbeat friend who asks to borrow money with the promise to repay, or a business partner you know is lazy, you need to be careful. Never be the frog.
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