The Business of Aesop 


Episode 1

The North Wind and the Sun.
Power of Persuasion.

As an attorney, I live in a world of facts, rules and argument.  This context is not special, or new, of course.  This is the stuff of law, the stuff of business, and the stuff of politics.  Moreover, it is pretty-much the stuff of raising children, and the stuff of marriage.  And, well, if I keep thinking about it, it is pretty much the stuff of all social interaction.

I consider often that the World, as such, would be much more simple, if my view of it were accepted by everyone else.  Judges in court would always heed my arguments, my attorney adversaries would just roll over, and my wife and children would simply obey my every command (proverbially speaking, of course).  

But, the World has its way of teaching me that it just does not work that way.  And, if I do not heed the World's lesson in advance, she raps me on the knuckles with some form of pain, just to let me know to remember her next time.  And, yet, I still tend to forget!  

Yes, I admit, here and now, that I keep falling into the trap of trying to convince other people against their will!  I present the facts, the applicable rules (often known as "laws") and there we have it, voilà, an obvious result to behold: it is so clear (to me).  Rap!  There is it again.  The World reminds me, again, that it just does not work that way.

I really need to heed my Aesop.  Aesop is not just for children, of course: it's wisdom!  It works for everyone, all the time, at all ages!  The figures of speech may be in the form of fables, but that is just a teaching method: great teachers, and great speakers, use all sorts of figures of speech: Jesus with parables, Socrates with allegories, Theodore Roosevelt carried a big stick, and George Washington Carver personified that, if you love a peanut enough, it will give up all it secrets! 

So what does the Aesop teach us about the World with his fables of encapsulated wisdom?  Quite simply that I must remember to persuade.  To persuade.  George Washington Carver got it exactly right: There's nothing better than love, I suppose, to persuade.

Indeed, it takes some up-front time, but persuasion always works, even when it doesn't.  Why?  Because an argument is a force that polarizes, even often when it works.  Persuasion invites, and, even if the other person is not convinced, the methodology itself implements more amicably to live for another day. 

Argument doesn't work even when it does, and persuasion works even when it doesn't.  [Heck, I think I am even persuading myself to persuade as I write this...]

Therefore, to save ourselves the pain of being reminded by the World, with the pain of raps to our knuckles, let us remember the business wisdom of our friend, Aesop, expressed in The North Wind and the Sun, one of the greatest debates of all time:

The North Wind and the Sun debated who was more powerful.

They agreed that the stronger would be the one who could strip the Traveler of his cloak more quickly. 

The North Wind blew and blew, each time more mightily, but the Traveler only held his cloak more tightly.  Then, the Sun turned on the heat slowly and surely.  The Traveler, overcome with heat, voluntarily undressed.

Moral of the Story: Persuasion is more powerful than force.

Thank you, Aesop, our friend.  This fable, loved by the great Abraham Lincoln, helps us to remember that we need to take the time to think about how to present our thoughts in a persuasive manner.  As the great Dale Carnegie once said, "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."  So persuade the World with love, and the World will love you back for it.



The Business of Aesopis a series of short articles and newsletters by Gregg Zegarelli, Esq. applying the principles of Aesop to a business context.  Copyright © Gregg Zegarelli 2015.  All rights reserved. The fable summaries are excerpts from The Essential Aesop: For Business, Managers, Writers and Professional Speakers, Print 978-0-9899299-1-2, eBook 978-0-9899299-3-6, by Arnold Zegarelli and Gregg Zegarelli, Esq., Copyright © 2013.  All rights reserved.