The Business of Aesop 


Episode 8

Belling the Cat.
Big Ideas.

You've heard it a million times, "Ideas are a dime a dozen."

Ideas sell at such a cheap price.  The reason is because ideas have a big word conjoined with the idea itself.  It's stated right there in the implied parenthetical.  Oh, this word!  If we could only live without it.

I try to teach children about this word, so that they beware of it at an early age—the younger the better. 

This word is everywhere, for everyone's ideas, it does not discriminate.  It's there for children, brain surgeons and rocket scientists.  Every child must learn about this word early in life.  It catches a lot of adults too, for the untrained or unwary.  If only this word would be satisfied!

I tell children that it's the biggest little word in the world. 

If I am pressed to admit it, this word can help us when we ask for it.  The problem is that it's there lurking—stalking like a cat—even when we don't ask for it, and then it pounces.  We just don't tend to see it coming.

If it were only obvious. 

Once I was engaged by two elderly women simply to read a sweepstakes announcement to confirm that they had won the sweepstakes.  It looked convincing, but there it was...  That word again!  Stalking the unwary.  Yes, they actually won millions, if they returned the winning ticket.  The problem was that they did not possess the winning ticket.  Oh, my friend, "If," I am not sure I love you, but I am sure that I respect you.  You're powerful, and quiet.

"If" has been around a long time.  2,500 years ago, beloved and wise Aesop warned us to be vigilant for the quiet stalking power of "If."

You might not think that Aesop, being a slave, had the entrepreneurial spirit.  But, alas, he did.  He taught us, in quiet and powerful terms, about the true value of ideas, and the implied if clause.  Here goes: 

The Mice needed a plan to protect them from the Cat.  Many plans were being discussed, when a young Mouse got up and said:

I have a plan.  All we have to do is to hang a bell on the Cat's neck.  When we hear the bell ringing, we will know that our enemy is coming.

The Mice were chagrined that they had not thought of such a simple and obvious plan before.  But, then, the wise old Mouse arose and said:

Yes, great idea!  But, let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?

Moral of the Story.  Ideas must succeed through actual implementation.

Did you see it?  Did you see the young mouse's "implied if clause?"  It is great plan, "if we can bell the cat!"  "If" was there waiting to pounce!

And so it is that Aesop teaches about entrepreneurship with the great lesson of "Belling the Cat."  Ideas are a dime a dozen.  What is worth millions is that the idea can be successfully implemented.  Giving If his satisfaction.  That is where the money is found. 

So, next time you're in a strategy session, feel free to challenge your team members with a, "But, can we bell that cat?"

And, when your team members give you that deer in the headlights look, just tell them this fable, ask where they've been for, oh, let's see, about 2,500 years, and let them know, "With compliments of Aesop."



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.