Once upon a time, a wealthy king sought a suitable man to marry his daughter. So he decided to create a challenge to test whether an individual has the appropriate attitude and will not quit at the first indication of adversity. To pass the test, each candidate had to put on royal metal armour and ascend 1000 stairs to the top of the mountain, where the king’s palace was.
Many men gathered from all across the world to take on the task. However, as soon as they put on the armour, they understood that the endeavour would be impossible. The majority of men took the first step, then glanced up at the remaining 999 and gave up. Several men made it to the second step before abandoning their quest. And so it continued for the next couple of hundred guys, with some reaching the third stage.
The king appeared to be very concerned. He pondered if someone was deserving of his daughter. Everyone who came to try their luck with the challenge stayed away after they saw everyone who attempted to compete in the challenge fail miserably. Nobody thought it was possible. So far, everyone has failed, and they were discussing how the task was designed to be impossible to finish. The most powerful military men attempted and failed. The top athletes tried but failed. Even the most muscular men couldn’t go past the third stairwell. Nobody could make it any further. They all pointed their finger at the armour and the steps. If only the armour were lighter, the stairs weren’t so steep.
Then, to everyone’s astonishment, a young man who didn’t appear to be very ordinary and not very impressive declared he wanted to try. He, like everyone else before him, had his chance. He donned the heavy gear and proceeded to the steps. Everyone said he wouldn’t make it past the first step. But he was quick to go to the second. He could hardly move his shivering feet to the fourth step.
But he took a big breath and moved forward. He felt like he was about to collapse, but he was determined to keep going. He kept telling himself, “One step at a time.” I only have to finish this one. As he approached the fifth step, he felt a strong pull from the top. His armour became noticeably lighter. So he took another step, telling himself, “I’m not ready to quit yet.”
Surprisingly, the armour felt lighter in this following stage. He was exhausted but determined to take one more step. So the “not-so-special young man” went on. Each stride brought his armour lighter and his goal closer.
When the young man finished the challenge, the king praised him and then revealed a secret about the test: “You know, the challenge aimed to make sure that the guy who is going to marry my daughter is not the type of man who gives up after the first couple of difficult moments.”
The armour represents the difficult times, and the magnet on top, which made each step easier after the first few you had to make on your own, represents the willpower and experience that will make your future endeavours easier to bear. Because with the proper person at your side, as well as the right mindset and focus, you can do anything, no matter how big the problem is.
So you know that the most challenging part of any problem you and your partner will encounter in the future is the first few steps, and it will become easier from there. You have proven yourself worthy, and now you have my blessings to marry my daughter.”
Moral: Remember to take your first steps and keep going. It becomes easier as you gain experience.