The theme of Carrot Colored Cloak is "don't quit before the miracle." The fable concerns a young woman, Shannon, who dearly wants to be an actress playing many great roles. She is quite committed to her dream, missing out on the amenities enjoyed by friends with less demanding careers. In service of her long run goal.
One day it all gets too hard. The discouragement, the demanding life style and the difficulty of keeping the faith catch up with her, and she "quits". Only a day or two before the "miracle" would have happened. As it turns out, she would have been offered the part of her dreams.We don't know from the fable what Shannon went on to do or if she had a happy life including a satisfying career.
What's important here? At one level the fable is a reminder to persevere and not quit before the miracle. If you have a dream, really go for it. It’s a wonderful motivator, leading to a tremendous sense of fulfillment. At the same time, for me, the fable raises a harder set of questions. How much do you "sacrifice" in the short run in service of longer run goals? How do you handle discouragement when the dream you have is in reality one that is hard to achieve? If what you want is one big miracle or dream--e.g. Shannon's desire to be an actress--how do you shift as needed to make it more likely that you will find an alternate and equally satisfying goal? What are the benefits of sometimes sublimating your
emotions in service to simply going after what you want?
These are obviously challenging questions. I understand the fable's emphasis on perseverance. I get the sadness a mythical Shannon would have felt when she found out the part of her dreams would have been offered her in a matter of days. In real life, that near miss would have been hard to live with. One can only hope her decision to quit came from a balanced and centered place that only partly was based on her discouragement.I also think quitting isn't always giving up. Sometimes stopping to take stock and perhaps change course absolutely is the "right" thing to do and the thing that makes sense.As well, so when do you persist and persevere and when do you change course? The answer in any given situation of course depends on taking a lot of factors into account. But in this American society in which we live, it is easy to buy in at a lot of personal costs to cultural norms stressing hard work, perseverance and pursuing that individual dream. That’s all well and good, and I wouldn’t downplay American individualism for the world. Sometimes though it's important to know its ok when it doesn't feel right to not go for the... orange.