The Seed of Honesty

My friend once told me a story.

‘A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. He called all the young executives in his company together and said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Tom, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, planted his seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Tom kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Tom didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Tom’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Tom didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however… He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil, determined to make the seed grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Tom felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew he had to face it.

He took his empty pot to the office. When Tom arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes.

Tom put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Tom just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Tom at the back of the room with his empty pot. He asked him to step forward.
Tom was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Tom got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Tom told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to step back except Tom. He looked at Tom, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Tom!”

Tom couldn’t believe it. Why, he hadn’t even been able to grow his seed!

“How could he be the new CEO?” the others asked.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Tom, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Tom was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!’

This story got me thinking. It doesn’t matter if some things don’t work out, because everything in this world does happen for a reason. Sometimes, we just need to relax, and if things fail then let them, not cheat and lie to finish the task, or come out first. Because life is NOT a race. We’re all different and we need to accept that.


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