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Lift Large And Prosper

Don't Just Coast Through Life, Grow Through It!

The Story of “The Begging Bowl”

At the moment, I’m about 50% of the way though “The One Thing” by Garry Keller and Jay Papason. To give you a short summary, it’s about using your values and desires to direct action towards achieve them!

I’m enjoying it so far, which isn’t surprising consider its been on over 175 best seller lists! This article isn’t about the book though, it’s about a passage from it.

When talking about life happiness, Garry shares a story called “The Begging Bowl”. It’s an ancient tale which, even after extensive searching, I cannot find a source for.

Despite this, it is worth sharing.


The Begging Bowl

Upon coming out of his palace one morning and encountering a beggar, a king asks, “What do you want?” The beggar laughingly says, “You ask as though you can fulfill my desire!” Offended, the king replies, “Of course I can. What is it?” The beggar warns, “Think twice before you promise anything.”

Now, the beggar was no ordinary beggar but the king’s past-life master, who had promised in their former life, “I will come to try to wake you in our next life. This life you have missed, but I will come again to help you.”

The King, not recognizing his old friend, insisted, “I will fulfill anything you ask, for I am a very powerful king who can fulfill any desire.” The beggar said, “It is a very simple desire. Can you fill this begging bowl?” “Of course!” said the king, and he instructed his vizier to “Fill the mans begging bowl with money.” The vizier did, but when the money was poured into the bowl, it disappeared. So he poured more and more, but the moment he did, it would disappear.

The begging bowl remained empty.

Word spread throughout the kingdom, and a huge crowd gathered. The prestige and power of the king were at stake, so he told his vizier, “If my kingdom is to be lost, I am ready to lose it, but I cannot be defeated by this beggar.” He continued to empty his wealth into the bowl.

Diamonds, pearls, emeralds. His treasury was becoming empty.

And yet the begging bowl seemed bottomless. Everything put into it immediately disappeared!

Finally, as the crowd stood in utter silence, the king dropped at the beggar’s feet and admitted defeat. “You are victorious, but before you go, fulfill my curiosity. What is the secret of this begging bowl?”

The beggar humbly replied, ‘There is no secret. It is simply made up of human desire.”


Examples of people pushing themselves and achieving greatness have exploded in recent years. Social media allows people to share their milestones and inspires others to do the same!

Moving forward and growing is an important part of life. It insures we maximise our abilities and build a life we are passionate about.

The truth is though, that we will always want more. More money, more time, more experiences. Before we’ve even finished something, we are already thinking “What now?”

Ebenezer Scrooge from “A Christmas Take” hustled his way to the top. He worked, invested and strived to build a wealthy business. All that changed after the ghosts came to show him that there is more to life then making coin!

That was when he learned that work without appreciation isn’t worth a damn thing.

So strive to progress, to learn and to grow. Work at turning your dreams into reality. But remember the begging bowl and don’t end up like Ebenezer, filling his with human desire. We will always want to achieve more, but without actually stopping to appreciate it, there isn’t a point in even trying.