Have you heard the story of the scorpion and the frog ?
“A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog then agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature.”
–Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog
The frog’s charity and kindness is repaid with cruelty by the scorpion…
Some people cannot resist hurting others even when it is not in their own interests.
The lesson is very clear and often overlooked: people rarely change their basic nature. Yet too often, we make the mistake of ignoring this truth.
We enter into friendships with people who, by their nature, are not suited to be good friends, to support us in achieving our life goals.
We enter into romantic relationships thinking we just need to change a few things about the other person to make our partner perfect.
We enter into business transactions with people knowing about potential problems but thinking we’ll work around them, or that they’ll act in the best interest of all parties because they’re gaining something from the relationship.
We need to learn a lesson from the frog. People rarely change their basic nature. It doesn’t matter what the rewards might be for acting differently.
People find it extremely difficult to act contrary to their true selves.
I’m not suggesting that you give up on a person because of a mistake in the past. We all make mistakes. But be wary and temper your expectations of that person; don’t expect radically different behaviour, and monitor the situation to protect yourself.
It’s best to seek out friends, relationship partners and employees whose core identity aligns with yours. If you’re an employee, make sure the values of the company match your beliefs.
Life is filled with challenges. Don’t take on more by expecting someone to act differently from their nature.
The sting of realizing this truth can be quite painful.
Scorpions are a part of life. They exist amongst us and you’re bound to face one eventually. You might feel disappointed when you encounter one, but it’s part of life and the human condition. People have flaws.
Recognise the scorpion within yourself.
We are all able to make choices, but those choices are influenced by our nature. There are things we can do to make our choices overrule our nature, we just need to recognise and acknowledge our own weaknesses.