Once upon a time there was a miller who had a beautiful daughter. He wanted to make himself appear important, so he bragged to the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold. Of course the king wanted more gold, so he locked the beautiful daughter up and demanded she produce the gold.
The daughter had no idea how to spin straw into gold. She sat at the spinning wheel frightened and sobbing.
In bounded Rumplestiltskin. He offered to spin the straw into gold as long as the girl gave him something of value. If you want to read the rest of the story, click here.
I have to admit, this story has always fascinated me. Partly because I love the magic involved with turning something into gold. Partly because of the greed demonstrated by the miller, the king, and Rumplestiltskin, and that they had the gall to exploit a young woman to get what they wanted.
When I look at this story now, there are other life lessons embedded within. The most important is this:
You can become wealthy by turning the straw in your life into gold.
Perhaps not cash or gold coins, but something more valuable – a meaningful life. Here’s how.
It takes perspective to believe that spinning gold is even possible. Too often we look at the straw and see…straw. Trash. A heap. We don’t see the possibility of a different future. That we can make something from the straw. A different perspective sees the straw, and also sees the potential. What the straw can become.
It also takes work. Even Rumplestiltskin didn’t simply wish for the straw to appear. He spun throughout the night. It took painstaking feeding of the straw through the spinning wheel. Work and concentration.
The work entails some amount of sacrifice. Sacrifice of time you could spend doing something else. Sacrificing activities or funds so you can focus on what’s most important. The daughter was willing to give up her jewelry. What are you willing to sacrifice to build toward your future? To turn your straw into gold?
The miller had to convince the king. Rumplestilskin had to get the miller’s daughter to believe. The daughter had to bargain with Rumplestiltskin to trade his work for her jewelry. It took selling the idea or proposal in order for the story to progress.
In our own lives, we sometimes have to sell to others, convince them that something is right or best. Sometimes we have to convince ourselves. We don’t quite believe it is possible.
What’s the straw in your life right now? What’s ratty or trampled on? Maybe it’s a failed project or relationship. Maybe it’s your career. Or your health. I doubt you have to look very hard to find some straw. Where you sitting on the stool afraid and not knowing where to turn?
Start spinning. Look at the possibilities. Ask what gold can rise from the ashes of the straw. See what you can learn. How you can grow. Do not simply accept the straw as is.
Then start the spinning wheel. It make take some time to figure out how to make it work. The gold may be coarse or breakable at first. Not able to be woven into a beautiful golden fabric. But as you spin, you’ll get better at spinning. Each bit of work will move you toward making gold.
Be prepared to sacrifice. You can’t have both the straw and the gold. You can’t have your old life and a new one too. What are you willing to give up in order to get where you want to go? It may be only for a little while, but there is a cost to turning straw into gold. The cost of your time and focus.
Who do you have to sell to? Most often it’s yourself. You may need to remind yourself daily of why you are doing what you are doing. Why you have chosen your path. Why it is important. When the spinning wheel breaks down, or your arms and neck get tired, it’s so tempting to quit. It’s so hard to remember why you started in the first place. Michael Hyatt calls it the “messy middle”.
In these times it also helps to have someone else to encourage you. A team. A mastermind group. People who are also in the straw-spinning business. Those who can see the gold in the straw and help you believe it is possible.
Don’t settle for straw. Spin, sacrifice, and sell. Eventually you will see that straw turn into gold. Not painted rocks, but pure, refined gold. Forged from the fires of your experience and vision.
Have you or do you want to turn some straw in your life to gold? Share in the comments below so we may learn from your experience. And share this post with someone who might be experiencing straw in their lives right now.