Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fragrant Olive Tree and Rain in Tokyo

There were several empty houses in my area when we moved into this house in May 2009. The number of foreclosure and short sale houses increased in 2010, when we were getting settled. The worst timing was from the spring to summer of 2010: The house on the northeast corner of our block was vacated in April, and our next-door neighbor disappeared in June. It appears that the situation is getting better, although the pace of improvement is painfully slow. A family bought our next-door neighbor's house in August 2010, and another family is moving into the house on the northeast corner of our block. The following is the story of my friend, Sean, whose next-door neighbor house had been empty for a while, as my case. See what happened when a new family moved into the house.

The house next door to Sean was vacant for a relatively long time. It is not a good feeling to have an empty house next door. So when a family finally moved in, Sean's family welcomed them, and the new neighbor family started to settle in. Their house needed a lot of repairs and renovations, and in their repair work, they cut several trees in their backyard. One of the trees was a fragrant olive tree, which used to give out an aroma in autumn. Because the tree in their neighbors' backyard was Sean's wife's favorite, she was sad when she saw her neighbor cut it.

One day Sean and his wife met the neighbor family outside their house. Sean asked how the backyard work was going, and the neighbor answered that is the work was progressing slowly. Sean's wife mentioned that they had cut the fragrant olive Tree. The neighbor family was surprised. They did not know the tree they had cut was a fragrant olive tree.

They did not even check what type of tree they were cutting down. They said they would not cut it if they knew. They were in such a hurry that they did not pay attention to what they were cutting. The tree was cut. It was too late.

This story reminds me of a Japanese proverb referring to rain in Tokyo: "If he were not in a hurry to go, the traveler would not have been wet; rain finished after he ran into the rain, as the rain in Tokyo is fickle."

In today's age of personal Computers and digital technology, people like speed. Company management teams teach employees that it is more beneficial to work at a fast pace even if it sacrifices their work's quality. I doubt it is right to emphasize speed and ignore output results. I believe the age of speed is close to its end. We should take our time when we think and do things, especially important work.

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