Aesop on client focus

Don’t spend time dreaming of clients you might have when it’s better to focus on those you already do.

The Dog and the Shadow

“A dog had stolen a piece of meat out of a butcher shop and was crossing a river on his way home when he saw his shadow reflected in the water below. Thinking that it was another dog with another piece of meat, he became intent on capturing the other piece as well. Once he snapped at the treasure below, however, he dropped the prize that he was carrying and thus lost everything he had.”

Grasp at the shadow and you will lose the substance.

Aesop on hiring a professional

The Widow and the Sheep

“Once there was a widow who owned just one sheep. Wishing to make the most of his wool, she sheared him so closely that she cut his skin as well as his fleece. Suffering from such painful treatment, the sheep cried out, ‘Why are you torturing me like this? What will my blood add to the weight of the wool? If you want my flesh, send for the butcher, who will put me out of my misery at once. But if you want my fleece, send for the shearer, who will clip my wool without drawing blood!’”

Cutting small costs can cause great wounds.

Aesop on design contests

The Lioness

“Once when all the beasts were arguing among themselves as to which of the animals could produce the largest number of whelps at birth, they went to the lioness and asked her to settle the dispute.

‘And how many do you have at birth?’ they asked.

‘One,’ she said defiantly, ‘but that one is a lion.’”

No matter how much you have, never argue with quality.

Aesop on giving critiques

It’s easy to speak negatively about the work of others, but never forget the quality of your own.

The Two Bags

“According to ancient lore, every man is born into the world with two bags suspended from his neck — one in front and one behind, and both are full of faults. But the one in front is full of his neighbour’s faults; the one behind, full of his own. Consequently, men are blind to their own faults but never lose sight of their neighbour’s.”

Aesop on kindness

This one isn’t just appropriate for the business of design, but for life in general.

The Lion and the Mouse

“A lion was sleeping in his lair when a mouse mistakenly ran over the mighty beast’s nose and awakened him. The lion grabbed the frightened little creature with his paw and was just about to crush him when the mouse began pleading for mercy and declared that he had not consciously intended to offend the lion. Moreover, the mouse sought to convince the lion not to stain his honourable paws with such an insignificant prey. Smiling at his little prisoner’s fright, the lion generously let him go.

“Now a short time after this occurrence the lion was caught in a net laid by some hunters while roaming the woods in search of prey. Finding himself entangled in rope without the hope of escape, the lion let out a roar that resounded throughout the entire forest. Recognizing the voice of his former saviour, the mouse ran to the spot, and without much ado, began nibbling the knots that had ensnared the lion. In a short time he freed the noble beast and thus convinced him that kindness is seldom wasted and that, no matter how meager a creature may be, he may have it in his power to return a good deed.”

Little friends may prove great friends.