Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Rope Is Made With Twisted Threads

All languages have proverbs. Most of them come from old historical facts, and many originated from the wisdom of ancient people. The similarity of proverbs in different languages, such as English and Japanese, is interesting For example, a Japanese proverb states: "Life is like a rope. As it was made with many twisted threads, sadness and gladness succeed each other." When someone looks at a rope from a distance, it appears to be one straight line. However, it is actually a gathering of numerous twisted threads. Looking at a rope from the side shows how the twisted threads go around the surface to the back and then return from the back to the surface. This composite structure makes a rope durable. It is no wonder that ancient people see lives as represented by ropes. Although English has many expressions that describe the cycle of happiness and sorrow in people's lives, it is not easy to find one that matches the exact meaning of this Japanese proverb. The English proverb closest in meaning is: "Every cloud has a silver lining."

Liz was a sales manager in an electronics company. She found a small company as a partner, client and helped it grow through financial and other support. This once-small company became a very good customer which ordered at least one million dollars worth of her products every month. Her sales record soared, and her bonus increased because of this customer. She eventually became a sales director. She was proud of her evaluation because she was the one who had carefully supported this customer when nobody else would.

This company grew too fast. One day, an offshore company offered a tendered amount to take it over. Liz and her company support team played the role of the white knight for their customers and tried to save the company from this hostile take-over action. Unfortunately, Liz's company was not big enough to effectively defend their competitor's attack. Her small company was taken over by a foreign business, a direct competitor. She lost one million dollars per month value order with this customer. She thought, however, "Well, every cloud has a silver lining. I will find the next one and grow it."

Even if a rope looks solid and durable, if it is partially broken in one or two pieces, with small and thin threads hanging off, the result may be a chain reaction of many broken threads. This can happen in a matter of minutes, just as how our lives can be turned upside down very quickly.

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