Tales My Mother Told Me… Tale 6: "The Magic Pen"

Welcome to Tales My Mother Told Me…

Tale 6. ” The Magic Pen!”

This tale is about me when I was in year three at primary school. As a child I loved writing and I recall that even when I was not ready to attend school, I loved to pretend I had homework to do  and hung around my sisters and brothers while they were doing their own school work. At the time I was fascinated by, and admired people who had beautiful hand writing. I remember wishing that, one day when I got older and was attending school, I could write beautifully just like them.

Even till today, I still treasure the “magic pen” story that my Mum told me.

The story starts when I came home one day from school frustrated and Mum asked me “What is the matter my little one, why are you not happy today?  Something happened in school?”

“How do you know mum?” I said with a sad voice.

“Of course I know. You normally come home happy like a sunshine and have so much to tell me about your day at school. Now tell me what happened at school today.” said Mum.

So I started to tell Mum that I was very disappointed because I was not selected to enter the school hand writing competition while two of my friends had been selected. I started to complain that I was not good enough and that I will never get selected because my writing was ugly… blah blah blah!

“Calm down and don’t cry my little one” she said. “Don’t be too hard on yourself, there will be another competition in three months time. I know you can get yourself ready for that one.”

“But how mum? My writing is so ugly and I don’t know what to do… it will take me forever to learn…” I said.

Did I tell you about the magic pen that your grandma gave me when I was your age?” Mum asked.

Where it is mum? May I have it please? Is it why you have beautiful handing writing? I needed to know.

“Now let me see where I left the magic pen”. Mum mumbled as she went through the drawer.

Once she found the box she gave it to me and asked me to open it.

Now the box was full of all kinds of pens, and Mum told me that one of them is the magic pen. One of them had the power to make me write beautifully. All I had to do was to find it.

“How do I know which one is the magic pen?” I asked. There are so many pens in the box Mum, which one is it?”

“Why don’t you start writing with those pens and find the magic pen that way?” Mum suggested

But how will I know when I’ve found the magic pen Mum?

“You’ll know my little one… Just be patient” Mum said as she smiled.

At the time I was so excited and couldn’t wait to find the magic pen. So of course I decided to try all the pens in the box.

I remembered during that time I kept swapping and changing pens to find the magic pen.

Every day after school I got into the box of pens and started to copy a chapter from my text book into an exercise book. I kept writing everyday as I was determined to find the magic pen. So the process went on for almost three months.

One day at school I was talking to my two friends. We were going to decide who had copied out the most chapters from the book. We showed each other our exercise books. We were going to compete with each other to see who had written the most chapters from the text book.  Then one of my friends spoke out loud. “You did not write that! You got someone else to write that for you!”

“No!  I wrote them all myself! I didn’t get anyone to help me write”. I replied.

“Then why is your writing is so different? Who did you get to write it for you? It’s beautiful writing, so it can’t be your hand writing” said my friend.

“I don’t know why you said that, it’s my own writing thank you” I was getting upset.

So I reviewed the whole exercise book and started to realise my writing had changed dramatically .And yet I did not even realise it myself.

Then it struck me!

The first thing came to my mind was that I had finally found the magic pen! I couldn’t wait run home to tell Mum.

“Mum, Mum! I’ve found the magic pen” I was panting with excitement as I ran into the house.

Mum smiled and said “That’s great my love, show me your magic pen.”

“Here it is Mum, I am so happy I finally found it.” I said jumping with joy.

“Now why do you think this is the magic pen?” she asked.

“Have a look at my exercise book Mum. Look at my hand writing from a couple of months ago and now look at these pages I wrote a couple weeks ago. It’s magic. I tried over fifty pens to find this Magic Pen Mum.” I said.

“My little one, I am so proud of you. Your writing has transformed. I know you have found your magic pen. Can you do this for me please? I would like you to select any pen from the box and I want you to write a paragraph from your text book.

I looked at Mum strangely and asked “Must I use one of them? I already found my pen.”

“Please do it for Mum” she said.

So I picked up one of the pens and start to write. To my surprise my hand writing did not revert to the old style. I couldn’t believe it, so I picked up another pen and started to scribe again. The results were just as good as the magic pen.

Mum looked and me with a big smile and said this to me; “My little one, there is no magic pen. You are the one who created the magic. The reason your hand writing has improved so much is because of your focus, determination, dedication, and perseverance. I saw you working really hard all those hours after school. And the results speak for themselves. Your writing has now transformed. It’s just beautiful. The idea of a magic pen was to inspire and motivate you, to give you a  real reason to challenge yourself, and for your destiny.”

“Practice makes perfect!” said Mum as she kissed me on the forehead.

So how do you apply this tale of “the Magic Pen” into your business?

As a business owner you’ll face many challenges. Sometimes you will need to step out of your comfort zone and also to embrace changes in your life and business.

What if you choose not to and choose to keep performing below the line?

Would you business grow? Would you grow as a person?

As Business LifeStyle coaches we see some clients stuck in these two zones. we call them:

1.      “Effect” rather than the “Cause”

Being in Effect is rather easy, you don’t have to take action, just blame your circumstances on the other things around you. It’s never YOU. This also means you often feel like you are disempowered by your life’s events, and not in control. 

However, if you choose to be in the “Cause” side, it really is a decision and an action. You take full responsibility for your destiny. It can give you more choices and opportunities as you will explore different options to improve or change your situation right now. In other words, it has the effect of actively empowering you to create your life in each moment.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. 

We ourselves must walk the path”. -Buddha

Making excuses rather than choices happens regularly to us too. Like not following through with what we want to do, the fear of failure, or success. Or lacking clarity… like the ‘Real Purpose” behind why you want to achieve your goals. 

As a coach working with clients every day, we firstly help them to define their goals. Then we help them to see the value of making good choices, and not making excuses. 

Real Purpose will stop you making excuses and getting caught in the procrastination trap. In fact, it will empower you to do more as everything you do will have a real sense of purpose in your life.

The more you achieve your goals, the more confident and competent you will become. As you start to recognise and enjoy these accomplishments it will also give you a wonderful sense of well being.

And one more thing…

My Mum was right! There is no “Magic Pen”…

nor “Magic Pill” either…

It will take work, sometimes it takes lots of hard work .

Don’t ever wait for a miracle to happen.  You BE the miracle and make things happen for yourself.

Where there is a real purpose and specific action, your goals can, and will, be accomplished.

Success is in front of you, you just need to know how to get there.

Tune in next week for Tale 7 “Here come the Fair- Weather Friend”


Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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