One beautiful summer day the tiger and the donkey were walking through the fields together.
The donkey proclaimed to the tiger that the grass was blue. The tiger disagreed, telling the donkey that the grass was obviously green.
A long argument ensued to which there could be no resolution, so the tiger and the donkey agreed that they would go ask the lion.
They approached the king of the jungle as he sat regally on his throne. The donkey abruptly yelled, “Your highness, the tiger says the grass is green but I say the grass is blue. Please help us settle this argument. Isn’t it true that the grass is blue?”
The lion looked at the tiger with disappointment in his eyes. He then turned to the donkey and said, “Yes, you are correct. The grass is blue.”
The donkey began to jump up and down, rejoicing in his triumph. He turned to the tiger and said, “See, I told you so!”
As the donkey excitedly trotted off into the distance, the tiger said to the lion “Your majesty, why did you tell the donkey the grass is blue when you and I and every other animal knows that the grass is most assuredly green?”
With the same disappointed look in his eyes, the lion replied to the tiger, “You should know by now…it makes no sense to argue with an ass.”
You may have read other versions of this story online. Or maybe your parents shared it with you when you were growing up. It’s a valuable lesson that has served me well over the years.
In 1992 I took a trip to Denver as the speaker at several seminars to talk about joining my real estate franchise. At one of the presentations there were a couple hundred agents in the room.
About 20 minutes into my presentation one of the agents who was attending stood up abruptly in the middle of the room and started shouting, “You can’t do this! This is not the way homes are sold!”
One of my top agents who accompanied me on the trip started to make his way down the side aisle to quash the disruption and escort this man out of the room, but I said into the microphone, “No Dan, let this gentleman finish saying what he wants to say.”
All eyes went back to the man in the middle of the room, who then started stammering, grumbled a few obscenities, then stormed out.
I looked at the crowd and said, “I guess he won’t be joining our franchise.” Everybody laughed, the tension disappeared, and I began speaking again like nothing had happened.
That was the first business trip I took my son, Brian, on. We wanted to do some skiing in Denver. Brian was sitting in the back of the room doing his homework when the outburst occurred, so he witnessed the incident.
Later that night while we were enjoying a fantastic Italian dinner at a little hole in the wall restaurant, Brian finally mentioned it, asking, “Dad, why didn’t you tell that guy off today? You totally could have won that argument. That guy was such an idiot!”
That’s when I told Brian something like, “It’s okay to debate logically, but foolish to argue with an ass.”
We’ve all engaged in futile arguments at one point or another. It’s innately human to want to prove yourself right and the other person wrong. But while some debates are worth having, others simply are not…yet we find ourselves stepping into the ring anyway.
Today’s takeaway – the next time someone tries to bait you into a foolish dispute, remember the lion’s response.
“Bees don’t waste time explaining to flies why honey is better than garbage.” -Unknown