The Business of Aesop 


Episode 90

The Lion in Love.
Loving the Deal.

By Gregg Zegarelli, Esq.

Hope is a funny thing—or maybe not. Hope inspires, and hope deludes. Hope is neither always good, nor always bad. It's all in how we use it.

What might make hope a funny thing is that its nature is irrational. And, it is exactly this fact that gives hope is essential character.

If we don't hope at all, we are discouraged; if we hope too much, we are delusional. Like life-giving water, not enough water and we die, but too much water and we die.

But, the wonderful smiling irony of hope is that we only need it when we might be delusional. That's the beauty of hope.

The self-management of hope is an essential quality of every employer—and every coach—particularly in the selection of team members and resources. A great supervisor, like a great coach, must make initial assessments as to human resource potential, with hope for achieving that potential, but not so much to be delusional. Tricky stuff.

William Shakespeare wisely wrote, in The Taming of the Shrew, "No profit grows where is no pleasure taken; in brief, sir, study what you most affect," meaning a particular human nature will gravitate toward what its own nature most enjoys. Sort of the Shakespearean way of saying, "You'll make the most money by doing what you love." Shakespeare followed-up in Hamlet with, "To thine own self be true." His way of adding, "And, by the way, don't kid yourself."

One of the great disconnects in professional relationships (and certainly many personal relationships), is how hope is self-managed. I may hope that I could play basketball like Michael Jordan—and I could be well-intentioned and committed to the task—but it would be delusional for me to think that I could ever play basketball like Michael Jordan. [But, then, who knows, maybe I could. Could I? See how hope works...]

Skills can be taught, but the employer and the employee must be true to each other: success and profit will grow best when there is a match of the nature of the position with the natural affect of the person—without anyone kidding each other.

For 2,500 years, Aesop has been right here telling us, "Hire and be hired with hope, but not too much, because the particular human nature of personal will remain consistent." He made his point with one of my personal favorites, The Cat-Maiden, re-stated for you here:

The Cat-Maiden

The Gods were once arguing over whether it was possible for a living being to change its nature. Jupiter said "Yes," but Venus said "No."

So, to test the question, Jupiter turned a Cat into a Maiden, and gave her to a young man for a wife.

At the wedding-feast, Jupiter gloated to Venus, “See how she behaves—who could tell that yesterday she was a Cat?”

“But, let us wait a bit longer,” replied Venus, who then let loose a mouse into the room.

The bride jumped up from her seat and tried to pounce upon the mouse.

Moral of the Story: Sooner or later, a core nature will be disclosed.

Shakespeare certainly read his Aesop, or at least I hope so...

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.