A gifted young painter of extraordinary talent had been apprenticed to a renowned painter, who when he recognized the boy’s gifts became intensely jealous.
“No, that is not the way to do it!” he would shout. “You will do better painting houses than pictures.”
Slowly the boy’s confidence ebbed. No matter how hard he tried, the painter found fault and humiliated the boy in front of the other students.
One day the painting assignment was goldfish. The boy closed his eyes and called up a splendid fat fish from his uncle’s pond. This he painted.
“No. No. No!” screamed the teacher and threw the boy’s picture into the water, where to everyone’s amazement the painted fish proceeded to swim away.
Recognize Your Uniqueness
We all face the same circumstances as the young painter has faced.
In our life whenever we have faced in different circumstances the same situation as the young painter has faced, if we enter into competition instead of trusting our ability we find that we have been defeated. But if we trust our ability irrespective of all the odds we will find that one day our work will become alive like GoldFish.
How do we learn to be competitive?
We are teaching competition. From their very childhood, we add the poison of competition, violence and ambition to the minds of children. And then we assume that these are schools. No, these are anti-schools, centers of anti-learning. These institutions pervert the mind of man and make him insane. Here inferiority is taught, and man then runs through his whole life like a madman. It makes no difference then whether the race is for money, position or power; but we teach a race, the fever of race. Fevers never make one healthy.
The ambitious person is a stupid person. The intelligent person is not ambitious, he simply lives with no hankering to compete with others because he knows everybody is unique. There is no question of competition. He never compares. The really intelligent person never compares himself with anybody. He never thinks himself higher or lower. He never suffers from a superiority complex or an inferiority complex – which are two sides of the same coin. He simply knows, ‘I am who I am and you are who you are,’ and there is no question of comparison. How can you compare a rose with a lotus? All comparison will be wrong from the very beginning. Each individual has such a beauty,such a unique beauty, that no comparison is possible.
What is the point of becoming ambitious? Ambition means: ‘I have to be superior; I have to prove myself, I am superior to others.’ Now for this you have to lose your intelligence, you have to become stupid. That’s why politicians are utterly stupid people, they can’t be otherwise. They are all bananas – and rotten bananas at that!
When the young painter was humiliated in front of the other students his confidence ebbed. With that he became prayerful, silent. When everyone was asked to paint GoldFish, he closed his eyes and remembered GoldFish from his uncle’s pond. That prayer was heard. It was trust in himself and not any desire to win, desire to be superior. He just wanted to paint GoldFish with his extraordinary talent. The result was that fish became alive. If you trust yourself and your uniqueness without any competition your work also will become alive. There will be life in your work. So be total, be prayerful towards your work.
Learning from the story GoldFish: Recognize Your Uniqueness
Everyone is born unique. No comparison is possible. You are you, and I am me. A Buddha is a Buddha, and a Christ is a Christ. And no comparison is possible. If you compare, you create superiority, inferiority – the ways of the ego. And then, of course, a great desire arises to compete, a great desire arises to defeat others. And you remain in fear of whether you are going to make it or not, because it is a very violent struggle: everybody is trying the same – to become the first!
Millions of people are trying to become the first. Great violence, aggression, hatred, enmity, arises. Life becomes a hell. If you are defeated, you are miserable. And there are many more chances of being defeated. And even if you succeed you are not happy, because the moment you succeed you become afraid. Now somebody else is going to take it from you. The competitors are all around, violently after you.
Before you succeeded you were afraid whether you were going to make it or not; now you have succeeded, you have the money and the power, now you are afraid – somebody is going to take it away from you. Before you were trembling, now you are trembling. Those who are failures are miserable, and those who are succeeders, they are miserable.
With this question will arise in us – Don’t we have to show that we are exceptional?
You are exceptional. But I want to tell you that everybody is born exceptional, there is no need to prove it. And those who prove, they simply prove that they are uncertain about their uniqueness. Try to understand it: only inferior people, who have an idea of deep inferiority, try to prove themselves to be superior. Inferiority complex helps you to compete and prove so that you can prove you are superior. But basically, you are born unique and there is no need to prove it.
The beauty and blessing of existence is that every single individual is unique. Osho says, “This is the beauty and the glory of existence. This is a blessing, that nobody like you has ever existed and will ever exist again. You are simply unique. Don’t waste this uniqueness in running after some goal, some shadow.”
Drop becoming anybody else. Drop the very idea that you have to be according to some discipline, some scripture, some theology. Forget completely that you have to be like Jesus or Buddha or Mahavira, and suddenly you will find you are who you are. Live it joyously, without any guilt. Existence wanted you to be what you are. If existence wanted another Jesus he would have created thousands of Jesuses, there is no problem. He would have made Jesuses on an assembly line. But he makes only individuals. Existence never duplicates, never makes anybody similar to somebody else.
This is the beauty and the glory of existence. This is a blessing, that nobody like you has ever existed and will ever exist again. You are simply unique. Don’t waste this uniqueness in running after some goal, some shadow.