Appearances Can Be Deceptive…

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How our ego, with preconceived notions, sometimes misjudges a person…

A lady in a faded grey dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun suit walked in timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office. The Secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, and country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Harvard.

“We want to see the President,” the man said softly.

“He’ll be busy all day” the secretary snapped.

“We’ll wait” the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president.

“Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she said to him. The President, stern-faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him “We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.”
  
The president wasn’t touched… He was shocked. “Madam,” he said, gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”

“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly “We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, and then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.”

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. 

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?”

Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the University that bears their name. Stanford University, a memorial to a son, that Harvard no longer cared about. 

Remember…

Most of the time we judge people by their outer appearance, which can be misleading… And in this impression, we tend to treat people badly by thinking they can do nothing for us. Thus, we tend to lose our potential good friends, employees, or customers.

“People are like books: Some deceive you with their cover and others surprise you with their content.”  

“A lot of beautiful people are not packaged beautifully.” — Ray Charles

In our lives, we seldom get people with whom we would like to share and grow our thought process, but because of our EGO, we miss them forever. It is we who have to decide with whom we are getting associated in day-to-day life.

“More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the Ego…” — Albert Einstein

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1 Comment

  1. Chhaya Mukherjee

    Just wonderful to read and hear again and again to try to keep ourselves aware from time to time.Thank you.

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