Tales My Mother Told Me Volume 2- Tale 6: Bore a Hole in the wall in Order to Get Some Light from the Neighour’s House

My brothers and I first heard this tale when we were young children.

I still remember that day. We were all doing our homework and started to complain about  our text books being old. If we had brand new text books we decided, we would study harder. Thinking back, we were just little kids and we were very lucky that our parents provided all the  things we needed as we grew up.

“You are very fortunate to have text books and a nice home to live in. Unlike the scholar Kuang Heng who was so poor. He did not complain like you naughty ones.” Mum said with disappointment.

“We are sorry mum.” I said in a shamed tone.

“Who is the scholar Kuang Heng anyway?” my little brother asked curiously.

“Yeah mum, who is he? Is here famous?” I asked.

Mum sat next to us and started to tell us about Kuang Heng; a poor young man with clever ways of leveraging the things around him.

Here’s where the tale begins…

During the Western Han Dynasty (206BC – 25AD) there was a young boy named Kuang Heng. Kuang loved to read books, but his family was very poor and could not afford to buy any books for him. So at a young age, in order for him to continue to read more books, he found himself a job working for the rich families and asked for nothing but books in return.

As he grew the young man also needed to work hard to support his family. In the daytime he worked on the farm with little chance to read. This situation caused great concern to him as the only time left that he could read would be in the evening. His other concern was that he could not afford to buy the oil to light his lamp at night. These concerns were constantly playing in his mind and he kept trying to think of ways to get some light into his room so that he could read at night.

One summer evening, Kuang Heng was resting on the bed and reciting what he had read. Suddenly, he noticed a beam of light coming from the wall. He quickly got up and investigated. To his surprise, there was light emerging from the neighbour’s home through a crack in the wall. He was so excited. His eyes lit up, and he said to himself “I’ve got an idea! I can leverage this light from the neighbours to do my reading. But first I need to widen the crack so there will be more light slipping through the crack in the wall”.

So Kuang Heng used a little knife and bored a large crack in the wall. The minute he began to widen the crack the light grew brighter.

From then on Kuang Heng finished working in the fields to return every evening to leverage the emerging light  from the neighbours to do his reading.

With his hard work and dedication to his study Kuang Heng later became a well known Confucian scholar of the Western Han Period.

So what this tale really telling us?

My Mum used to tell this tale to us when we whinged about what we had and what we didn’t have.

Mum wanted us to realised that we should be grateful for everything that we had, and we should not take things for granted. She encouraged us to look around and recognise all the things that we could be grateful for.

There was Kuang in a situation where he was so poor but never complained about anything. Instead he found solutions that helped him achieve his goals. He had a passion for reading, and was keen to study hard so that he could have a bright future. With focus, he achieved just that.

The moral behind to the story demonstrates to us how a person who works hard, works smart, and who knows how to apply leverage even under difficult or harsh conditions, can triumph.

Now, how does this apply to our Art & Design practice?

There are many ways to leverage that we can start to apply into our businesses. The first one is TIME.

Leveraging Time
In business, whether a new startup, or an existing business, you need to master the “art of leverage”.

Sometimes (most times?) we feel like we don’t have enough time in the day to do all the jobs we need to do to run a business.

In reality, you can’t really manage time or control time. That’s because we’ve all been given the same 24 hours in a day. No more. No less.

When your 24 hours is gone, you’re given another 24 hours the next day. And so it goes…

The real secret to success is what you do with those 24 hours!

Once you master in leveraging time you can focus on the tasks that really matter, and those that make you happy. That way can head forward to complete your tasks and achieve your goals.

We’d also like to share with you the meaning of GRATITUDE.

Look around you. Look at where you are, and what you have. Being grateful for what you have, and showing gratitude is an important aspect in creating a successful Business Lifestyle.

It’s important to think about all the things that you have to be thankful for everyday, and to appreciate what you’ve got. Your family, supportive partner, friends.

When we thank others for their actions they immediately feel like doing more for us too.

Expressing gratitude calms the emotions. Expressing gratitude brings us into harmony. It’s good for the heart and for the soul.

Expressing gratitude opens so many doors to happiness, serenity, and good health.

Expressing gratitude is one of our tools for enhancing and increasing the good things in our lives.


What are you grateful for?

Tune in next week tale ” The Farmer & The Fisherman”

More Tales My Mother Told Me…

Volume 2:

Volume 1:

Tale 9:“Being Present”



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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