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How Expectations are like Fishing?

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

In 1979, John Maxwell wrote, “Think on These Things” and tells this fishing story…

There is a story of a kid who was fishing on a pond and there was an elderly gentleman fishing as well. But he noticed that the kid, when he would catch a fish, he would pull it in, look at it very carefully. Then he would put his hand up beside the fish and you could tell he was kind of measuring it. And the interesting thing was that if the fish was fairly good size, he threw it back in the water. And sometimes he would catch a fish that was a smaller one, and if it was a smaller fish, he’d keep it. Of course, the elderly gentleman had never seen anybody do that. So he kind of slowly went around the pond until he got over there where the kid was. When he got there, he said, “I noticed that you’re keeping the small fish but your throwing the big ones back. I’ve never seen anyone do that, why are you doing that?” The little kid looked at him and he said, “Well sir, that’s very easy. I can’t keep the big ones; I only have a 10 inch frying pan.”

Three Dimensions of Expectation – John Maxwell Leadership Podcast

A lot of times, in our life, we have expectations, and the size of our expectations are directly related to how we will live out our life. If we only have a ten-inch frying pan and our expectations are small, then we’re going to live out our life in a small way. If we have big expectations, we have the opportunity to live out our life with more influence and accomplish more than we might otherwise be able to do. If we have unrealistic expectations, we will experience disappointment. The size of our expectations will determine what we keep and what we toss away.