A sign hung outside the office reading, “Labourer wanted urgently.” Many saw the sign, but few enquired within to take up the offer, that was until Mo entered the office.
“How much will you pay?”
“Once the work is completed, I will pay you £150.”
“That is fine with me; show me the task!”
Rishi, the boss, took Mo out the back of the office to a yard, where a mountain of rubble lay. At once, Mo frowned and appeared perturbed by the task at hand. Not moaning, he asked, “What needs doing?”
“I need that mountain moving over there, please.”
Rishi pointed to a space roughly 100 metres away, at the other side of the yard, then handed Mo a shovel. Next to where he stood was a rusty old wheelbarrow, and Mo placed the shovel in it and went over to the mountain. He thought to himself, “This will take forever! I wish I had never agreed to this.” Nevertheless, he set to work.
Each time he filled the barrow, Mo moved it across then emptied it. After four journeys, his back began to ache. He carried on and after twelve journeys, his arms began to ache also. It seemed as if he had barely touched the mound and became disheartened. All the time he was doing this, Mo noticed a snail in the corner of the yard, heading towards the cabbages. Every now and again, he looked towards the snail as he shovelled the rubble. After the first day’s work, Mo looked at the mountain and thought about how little he had done. Next day, he continued as before, taking each barrowfull from one place to the other, but at the end of the day, again he thought about how little he had done. After the third day, Mo approached Rishi and explained that he felt he was not up to the task.
“This will take me forever and I no longer think I am able to do this.”
“You will be fine. Eat, sleep, rest and comeback tomorrow.”
So Mo ate his meal then went to bed. He returned next day and carried on with his labour. His enthusiasm was diminishing which meant he became slower in his task. Rishi came out to see how Mo was doing.
“Good, good! You are almost a quarter of the way there.”
“Yes, but I’ve three quarters left to go! My back hurts, my arms hurt, my legs ache and the sun is beating at my head.”
“Pah! You are still moving, so carry on.”
“The task is too difficult, I want to quit!”
“Quit? Never! You’re doing so well. I won’t let you go. Besides, who will finish moving the mountain?”
“Anyone but me!”
“Pah! You are going to finish this.”
“The mountain is never to be moved! It’s too great a job.”
Looking towards the cabbages, Rishi noticed the snail nearing it. “You see the snail?”
“Yes,” said Mo. “The other day it was over by the rubble.”
“When you look at the snail, it doesn’t seem to move, but when you don’t watch it, it does move. How is this?”
Mo thought about this for a moment.
“Well, the snail is always moving, it’s just that when observing it, it seems not to move.”
“It’s just like the mountain; don’t look at the size of it, just focus on the task. You’re thinking about how big it is when you should be focusing on merely moving it.”
Pondering this, Mo began to carry on shoveling the rocks. He began to focus on merely moving the mountain.
“Don’t think about the end, consider only the action of moving it,” said Rishi as he walked away. And Mo began to focus on just shovelling and emptying rubble to and from the wheelbarrow.
“I’m hungry, hurting and sunburnt,” stated Mo when Rishi came back to him.
“Don’t think about how you feel, focus on moving rocks.”
“But my back is breaking!”
“Pay no attention to that, think only on what you are doing.”
“But it’s agony!”
“Pain is just a thought. Stop thinking and practice doing what you are doing. Focus only on the mountain.”
Once more, Rishi walked away. As he entered the hut, he noticed the snail climbing up to a cabbage, its horns moving excitedly.
On the 7th day, Rishi came back to the yard. The snail was munching its way through the cabbage and the sun was beating down on Mo’s back and head. As Rishi came to view the mountain of rubble, he noticed that it had been moved and that Mo had completed the task. A large smile grew on Rishi’s face. He began counting out the money as promised to Mo from the outset.
“Well done! There you go, there’s your money. Thank you for your services. I had faith in your ability.”
“You’re welcome,” said a very tired Mo and with that, he began to walk away. Rishi followed after him and went to the front of the little office. As Mo left, Rishi placed a sign up on the door, ‘Labourer wanted urgently.’ Mo looked back to see the sign back up, so soon. He went back over to Rishi and said, “What work do need doing now?”
“Oh, I need that mountain of rubble moving.”
“Why? I just moved it!”
“I will pay you £150 to do the task.”
“You only paid me £150 before! What do you mean by this?”
“Well, if you do it this time, you will learn more.”
Mo laughed out loud.
“Pay me nothing and teach me everything!”
“Okay. Now move that mountain from there to here. This time using only your own faith.”
So Mo sat down and thought about it. Rishi patted him on the shoulder, saying, “Don’t think about it, just do it. Believe you can do it, just as I believed you could.”