Thursday, 13 June 2013

How to break out of the prison formed by wrong assumptions. Reorientation is the key to personal effectiveness. Rational thinking is the root of self-confidence

Amongst all young women in the kingdom, princess Ameline possessed the blondest hair, the bluest eyes, and the saddest heart. Her parents, the late King and Queen, had entrusted her to a convent for her education years ago, so long ago that nobody could remember.

How to break out of the prison formed by wrong assumptions

Ameline was not a good student and, instead of repeating litanies with the other novices, she had taken up the habit of scurrying out of the convent to play in the nearby woods.

One Tuesday afternoon, barbarians attacked the convent, killed all nuns and novices, stole all cookies, and went away. When Ameline returned to the convent, she found herself to be the only survivor of the massacre.

She left the convent, walked to the city, and went directly to the Royal Palace, which she found empty, except for an old man who made his living guiding tourists. "Where are the barons and the servants?" inquired Ameline.

Reorientation is the key to personal effectiveness

The old man examined attentively her face and smiled. "You are princess Ameline," he said. "I have not seen you for a long time." He explained to Ameline that, after the King's and Queen's death many years ago, the kingdom administration had decayed into oblivion and finally vanished altogether. "Nevertheless, the palace is yours," he went on, "as well as the gold in the caves."

Ameline started a new life and began to live like real princess. Even though she was overall respected, she lacked one essential thing and that deprivation made her deeply unhappy: Ameline had no birthday.

Hardly a week went by without Ameline being invited to this or that birthday party. Everybody in the kingdom had his own birthday, that is, everybody except Ameline. At night, she dreamed of having her own birthday party and cake, but that was not to be.

Ameline's parents were dead, as well as the nuns in the convent. How could she possibly find out on which precise day she had been born? What is even worse, Ameline had no clue about how old she was. As time passed, she grew more and more depressed about her deficiency.

How could she ever be sure if she was old enough to marry? What if she ever wanted to sell her palace? How would she prove to the notary that she was of age? The old man, whom Ameline had allowed to continue his job as tourist guide in the palace, saw the princess whither away and decided to have a talk with her.

Rational thinking is the root of self-confidence

"My situation is hopeless and no one can help me," Ameline explained to him. "It would have been better if I had died in the convent." The old man listened attentively to Ameline's troubles and shook his head. "You are mistaken to think that you are the only one who has no birthday," he replied.

The princess was surprised to hear that. Was the old man lying in order to comfort her? "That's not true," she countered irritated. "I have seen everybody having birthday parties."

The old man nodded. "When the kingdom administration disappeared, the birthday registry turned to dust, and nobody was any longer certain about his own birthday. That created some disorientation, but after a while, people shrugged their shoulders and began to throw birthday parties whenever they saw fit. Sometimes twice per year, often twice per week."

The princess stared at the old man for a long moment, until she seized the full meaning of his words. Then she went to the palace kitchen and gave orders to prepare her a dozen birthday parties. She had a lot to catch up with.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


[Image by rizkapb under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]