A Story For Those Who Think Their “Life Sucks”

There are two reasons why people make changes in their lives: inspiration or desperation. Which are you?

Recently, someone asked me how to help her friend who has been complaining about his job. A job he doesn’t enjoy. Work that’s dragging him down and sucking his life away. Job that he complains about, day in day out.

To add on further, his managers and colleagues like to stifle him frequently. Recognition that’s overdue. Limited career developments. Unsatisfactory pay and benefits, and many more unhappiness.

I looked at her for a few seconds and I decided to share this story with her.


The Story of a Howling Dog

Have you heard of the howling dog story? A dog that kept howling non-stop. It’s not as well-known as other stories, but this one packs a good punch. There are different versions but the essence is the same.


Here goes:

Peter just moved into a new neighborhood recently. He liked his house and his environment, but there was one thing he didn’t quite get it.


His neighbor, Mr Tan, had a dog that kept howling non-stop. Literally. Day in, day out.


“Auuuuuhhhh………. Aaaauhhhh……….”


Initially Peter thought the dog was just going through a phase, so he ignored the howls, thinking it would eventually stop. But it didn’t. 

1 day passed. Nothing changed. 2 days passed. Still howling. 3 days. 5 days. 1 week. 2 weeks. 1 month. Still howling, with no signs of stopping. It continued howling and getting louder with each passing day.

“Auuuhhh………….Oouuuuuhhhhh…….Au au auuhhhhh..”

Finally, Peter couldn’t stand it anymore. One fine day, he walked over to Mr Tan’s house to see what was going on.

Sure enough, there was the dog, sitting at the front porch, howling pitifully to whoever was walking by.

animal, cute, dog
“Auuuhhh…Ouuuhhh….Auuuuuuuuuuuuuu………Au au au auu au au auuuuhhhhh….”

On the other hand, Mr Tan was relaxing on his bench at the balcony, leisurely reading his newspapers and sipping a cup of coffee.

adult, coffee, drink

Wondering what was going on, Peter walked up to Mr Tan.

Peter: “Hi Mr Tan, is that your dog?”

Mr Tan: “Which dog?” He glanced around. “Oh that. Yep he’s mine.”

Peter: “Why does he keep howling?”

Mr Tan: “Oh, that’s because he’s sitting on a nail.”

Peter: “Sitting on a nail?!?” Peter gave the dog a bewildered look.

“..Okay… so why doesn’t he just get away from the nail then??”

“Well, Peter………”, Mr Tan took a slow sip of his coffee before replying.

“…That’s because he doesn’t find it painful enough yet.”


Lesson From Yijing (易经) Wisdom

Each of us have different nails poking us. Some of us have a couple of big nails that pokes us every once in a while. Some of us have several small nails that poke on and off. Some of us have multiple big and small nails that poke repeatedly. 

What really matters is not what happened to you but what you are prepared to do about it. Rather than take action, most of the times we just sit and howl and that’s because the pokes aren’t painful enough. 

There is a saying:

To have something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you have never done.

But first, you’ve to make that decision first! It has to come from you! Your friend can only share this story with you.

universe conspires.png




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