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The Bee and Jupiter — You are Angry, but ask, “Is it worth it?”

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“Is it worth it?”

Is it worth it? Your instinct to “get even” or to “shut someone up” — is it worth it? Is it worth the anger and hurt that so often follows. As I get older, I’ve found the most powerful weapons I have for finding my joy is the ability to pause and ask myself, “is it worth it.” This is particularly powerful when I find myself annoyed or angry with someone or something, and my gut tells me to lash out — “is it worth it?”

At work and at home, I catch myself. I believe this pause has had a direct result in me not getting in arguments, in not regretting the words or actions I’ve taken out of primal anger.

Leadership advice and advice for raising kids through reflecting on timeless wisdom of Aesop Fables
Illustration by Colin Darke, The Bee and Jupiter

One Aesop fable I re-wrote to capture this lesson is The Bee and Jupiter:

Queen Bee Mary wanted to present the God Jupiter with a gift. Jupiter was the king of all of the Gods, so he was the most powerful. The Queen Bee wanted to be in his favor, so that she could use his power.

She grabbed some fresh honey from her honeycombs and flew the honey up to Jupiter. Jupiter was very pleased and told her the she could ask him for anything in the world, and he would grant her wish. Her plan worked.

The Queen replied, “I love my honey and I hate humans, so please give me a weapon that allows me to hurt or possibly kill any human that tries to take my honey.” 

Jupiter was shocked at this request. Jupiter loved humans. Jupiter also felt that the Queen tricked him. He did not want to be used for an evil deed, but he had made her a promise.

He thought to himself about how he could grant her wish but also protect humans. He decided to grant her wish with a catch, “You shall have a stinger, but it will also be your downfall. Your stinger will hurt or kill any human that tries to take your honey, but if you use it the stinger will stay stuck in the human. Once you do not have your stinger, you will die.”

Moral: When acting in anger, ask yourself “Is it worth it?” Think about the potential consequences.

This is a simple lesson, but powerful. In this day of “trolls” and otherwise unfiltered harsh words on social media, we need more people to pause. “Getting in the last word” or “roasting” someone, never builds you up. It does the opposite — it fuels internal negativity. It fuels seeing the world with a negative filter, which robs you of your joy. 

We all need to pause and truly weigh whether our negative reactions are “worth it.”

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