“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anaïs Nin.
A few years ago, a fellow received a message from a well-wisher: “Congratulations on a well deserved promotion. The cream always rises to the top. Best Wishes.”
The newly promoted fellow replied, “Thanks for your confidence and well wishes. As far as being the cream, I’d rather be the sugar instead. It is easy to scrape off the cream, but the sugar mixes with milk and makes it sweeter.”
I guess the promoted fellow was sharing something from a story he had learned in his childhood.
In the 7th century, a fleet of ships consisting of people who had fled Persia due to the change of regime arrived at the western shores of India. They were looking for a place to migrate and make their new home.
Since they spoke a different language, the king of a small state in India sent his emissary with a glass full of milk to communicate to the visitors that he had no space in his kingdom for more people.
The head of the fleet poured a spoon full of sugar in the glass of milk and sent it back to the king of the Indian state.
The king was first amused at the returned glass of milk but then he tasted it. His face lit up realizing that the message from the visitors was, “We will mix with your people and integrate into your community just like sugar mixes in milk and makes it sweeter.”
And how true were they to their word? Zoroastrians or Parsis as they are known in India, is a community of 100,000 in a country of 1 Billion people. Their contributions in industry, art, science and literature are disproportionately tremendous. Just to mention a few Parsis: Zubin Mehta world famous conductor, Tata family- founder of many industries and Air India, Homi Bhabha the founder of India’s Nuclear Program, Dadabhoy Navroji- a co-founder of modern India in Gandhi’s team, Godrej family- large industrialist, and so many more…
I guess it takes only a small amount of sugar (.01% of the population) to add a lot of sweetness to the large pot of milk.
When you go to a new environment: whether it is a country or a company or an organization, mix with the local culture and use your talents in such a way that it enhances the capabilities of your new organization.