Have you ever seen a traditional weighing scale in a shop in India selling food grains? It is called a ‘Balance’ and has two pans; one on either side of a pivot, hanging from a horizontal beam at the top. The weight measure is put in one pan and material being weighed in the other. There is an extremely important life lesson to be learnt in this. The next time you go to buy rice or some other grain, notice what the seller does.

First he puts the weight measure in one pan. Say 20 kilos. Then he uses a scoop and starts to put rice into the other pan. As the pan fills, even when he has put 19 kilos in it, what do you see happening to the pans? Nothing. There is no change in the situation. The pan with the weight remains firmly on the counter top. And the pan with the rice remains in the air. However you notice that the man does not stop putting the rice into the pan because he is not seeing any result to his efforts. He knows the result will come and continues to put the rice in with his scoop until he sees a small movement in the pans and the pan with the rice starts to descend. Once that happens and the pans are almost level, the man changes his method of putting in the grain. Now instead of the scoop, he uses his hand. He takes a handful of rice and very gently he drops a few grains at a time into the pan. And then lo and behold, the pan with the rice descends to the counter top and the pan with the weight rises in the air.

When I saw this, I learnt two essential lessons in life; both equally true:

Lesson # 1: Until 19 kilos, nothing will happen.

Lesson # 2: The last few grains always make the difference

So also in life, even when 19 kilos of effort have gone into the issue and we start to lose hope because ‘nothing is happening’ it is good to remember that nothing is supposed to happen. One who understands this does not lose hope or energy but smiles in anticipation of reaching the last stage when he knows that the pan will start to descend to the counter-top.

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Abdullallah Sujee

Thank you for this article because it gave me courage today. The point of knowing the tipping point for the grocer is easy but, for people in the workplace it is different. The difference is the understanding of perseverance. This made it clear because it gives the clear indication that you need to continue and by the nature of things, success or balance will come its own way. This natural wait I want to call patience because all possibilities are explored.

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