The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen R. Covey uses the fable of The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs to teach a very important lesson.

In the fable, a farmer discovers that he has a goose which lays a golden egg each morning.  The farmer, over time, becomes overtaken with greed and wants to obtain all the golden eggs from the goose at once.  So, he kills the goose and cuts it open only to discover that inside the goose there are no golden eggs.

The lesson that Covey is going for is that we can’t lose sight of our production capacity (the goose) by focusing only on what is produced (the golden eggs).  He goes on to relate this to different aspects of our lives:

  • Financial – Tend to your assets which produce income rather than spending your savings.
  • Physical – Take care of the things you own (cars, house, etc) so they will serve you longer.
  • Human – Nurture your relationships rather than always taking from them.

I think it’s human nature to fall victim to the same type of short-term, greedy thinking that the farmer did.  In fact, sometimes after we have achieved a little success we tend to forget the hard work that it took to get us there.  Without a conscious effort to sustain or even better ourselves, we could kill the goose and loose all that we have.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey