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Virtus Daily Blog #12 – The Cracked Pot

You are a flawed individual. As am I. We are all a little f**ked up, and that’s more than ok.

To highlight this point, I have a little parable I want you to read.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you”.  The bearer asked, “Why? What are you ashamed of?”  The Pot replied, “For these past two years I am able to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you don’t get full value for your efforts”.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion, he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”  As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it somewhat.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologised to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

The gist, or the takeaways I’m sure will be slightly different for everyone. Here is what I get out of this powerful story. We all have our own flaws. In one way or another we all have a crack that we wish we could cover up, but if we learn to utilise our flaws, our imperfections, we can ensure that nothing goes to waste. If you think that you’re useless or flawed in some way shape or form, and you let it impact all of the good that you share to the world, you have it all backwards. Your gift is unique. You’d be doing yourself and all of those around you a disservice by hiding it away and not embracing exactly who and what you are.

Be amazing.

Be imperfect.


Friday+Night 2863

Fig 1. 2 Cracked pots