The successfully self-employed not only work hard, but work smarter too. I love this story and I think it makes a great point we can all appreciate.
Years ago, two friends named Ed and Bill lived in a small town. The young men were best of friends. And big dreamers. They would talk endlessly about how some day, some way, they would become the richest men in the town. All they needed was an opportunity.
The town was a great place to live except for one problem. The town had no water unless it rain. To solve this problem once and for all, the town elders decided to put to bid the contract to have water delivered to the town on a daily basis. The job went to Ed and Bill.
Each man grabbed two buckets and headed for the river. The labored morning to dusk hauling water from the river and empty them into the large concrete holding tank the town citizen had built. Ed and Bill were paid a dime for each bucket of water.
“This is our dream come true!” shouted Bill, “I can't believe our fortune.”
But Ed wasn't so sure. His back ached and his hands were blistered from carrying the heavy buckets. He dreaded getting up and going to work the next morning. He wowed to think of a better way of getting water from the river to town.
“Bill, I have a plan,” Ed said the next morning as they grabbed their bucket and headed for the river.” Instead of lugging buckets back and forth for pennies a day, let's build a pipeline from the river to the town. “A pipeline! Whoever heard of such a thing?” Bill shouted. “We've got a great job. I can carry 100 buckets a day. At a dime a bucket, that's ten bucks a day! We have weekends off and two weeks' paid vacation every year. I am set for life! Get out of here with your pipeline dream.”
But Ed was not easily discouraged. He explained the pipeline plan to his best friend. Ed would work part of the day carrying buckets and then part of the day and weekends his pipeline. He knew it would be hard work digging a ditch in the rocky soil. Because he was paid by the bucket, he knew his income would drop at first. He also knew it would take a year or two, before his pipeline would start to pay big dividends. Ed believed in his dreams, and went to work.
Bill and the town citizens began mocking Ed, calling Ed, the Pipeline Dreamer. Bill who was earning more money than Ed, flaunted his new purchases. He bought flashy clothes and fancy meals at the local club house. The town citizens called Bill, “Boss” and they cheered when he bought drinks at the pub and laughed loudly at his crude jokes.
While Bill laze around on evenings and weekends, Ed kept digging his pipeline. The first few months Ed didn't have much to show for his efforts. The work was hard. But Ed kept reminding himself that tomorrow's dreams are built on today's sacrifice. Day by day, he dug, an inch at a time.
“It's a challenge,” Ed tells himself as he swung his pickaxe into the rocky soil. Every night Ed returned home exhausted. He measured his success by setting and meeting his daily goals. Soon, inches turned into one foot…then 10 feet…then 20…then 100…
Days turned into months.
One day, Ed realized his pipeline was halfway finished, which meant he only had to walk half as far to fill up his buckets. Ed used the extra time to work his pipeline. The completion date was advancing faster and faster…
During his rest breaks, Ed watched his friend, Bill lug buckets. Bill's shoulders were more stooped than ever. He hunched in pain and his steps slowed by the daily grind. Bill was angry and sullen, resenting the fact that he was doomed to carry buckets day in day out, for the rest of his life. He began spending less time at home and more time in the pub drinking…alone.
Finally, Ed's big day arrived – the pipeline was completed! The town citizens crowded around as water gushed from the pipeline into the village tank. The village now had a steady supply of fresh water…
Once the pipeline was completed, Ed didn't have to carry buckets anymore. The water flowed whether he worked or not. It flowed while he ate. It flowed while he slept. It flowed on the weekends he played. The more the water flowed into the village, the more the money flowed into Ed's pockets!
Ed the Pipeline Dreamer became known as Ed the Rich Man. Ed understood that what he had accomplish wasn't a miracle. It was merely part
of a plan. Ed realized that there are many towns in the world that have the same “water” problems…and he intends to share his ideas of building pipelines to those who are willing to listen and believed.
It pained Ed to see Bill struggling carrying the buckets. He decided to arrange for a meeting with Bill.
“Bill, I've come here to offer you a great business opportunity. It took me more than two years before my first pipeline was completed. But I've learned a lot during those two years. Where to dig…How to lay the pipe…I've developed a system that will allow me to build another pipeline…and then another…and another.
I could build a pipeline at a shorter period now by myself. But that would not be the best use of my time. What I plan to do is to teach you and others how to build a pipeline…and then have you teach others…and have them teach others…until there is a pipeline to every towns in the country…and eventually to every towns in the world.
Imagine…if we were paid just a small percentage of every gallon of water that goes through those pipelines…the more water flows through the pipeline, the more money will flow into our pockets.”
There are many variations of this story on the internet. I apprciate this version from Thomas Chow.
I've decided to be a Pipeline Builder and want you to join me too.