Cassan Said Amer tells the story of a lecturer who began a seminar by holding up a twenty-dollar bill and asking: ‘who would like this twenty-dollar bill?’
Several hands went up, but the lecturer said: ‘Before I give this to you, I have to do something.’
He screwed it up into a ball and said: ‘Who still wants this bill?’
The hands went up again.
‘And what if I do this to it?’
He threw the crumpled bill at the wall, dropped it on the floor, insulted it, trampled on it, and once more showed them the bill – now all creased and dirty. He repeated the question, and the hands stayed up.
‘Never forget this scene,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter what I do to this money. It is still a twenty-dollar bill. So often in our lives, we are crumpled, trampled, ill-treated, insulted, and yet, despite all that, we are still worth the same.’
Excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s collection of short stories, Like the Flowing River.
Copyright Paulo Coelho 1998-2005