ArtShine

Tales My Mother Told Me…Tale 12: "Frog In The Well"

Illustration by Anthony Van Lam

Welcome to tales my mum told to me..

Tale 12 : “The frog in the well”


Also known as:


“Look up to the sky from the bottom of a well”


“The Frog in the Well” is one of the oldest Chinese idiom fables. It comes from a book called “Inquiry into Tao”. It was written by Han Yu (768-824) a famous literati during the Tang Dynasty.

The very first time I learnt about this tale was when I was about 6 years old. I can still recall that time when I was young and ignorant. I did not want to learn anything new, I had “the I know syndrome”.

So my mum decided to tell me this story, “The Frog in the Well”. In fact the original title of the story was called “Look up at the sky from the bottom of a Well”.

Here is the story…

Once upon a time, there lived a frog in an abandoned well. He had only seen the sky through the top of the well. Little Frog had never spent a moment of his life outside of the well.  Still he was quite satisfied with his life living inside the well.

One day, the frog saw a sea turtle pass by the well.  The old turtle was from the East Sea and the frog started to brag to the sea turtle with excitement.

The frog said proudly: “Look how comfortable my home is! I love it here! I am living with great ease and enjoying my life and happiness more than those crabs and bugs in the sea”.

The frog also invited the sea turtle to come in and said: “Why don’t you come into my well for a visit and find out for yourself”.

The sea turtle was curious and wanted to check out the inside of the well.  However, the mouth of the well was too small and the turtle could not fit through.

The sea turtle took a few steps backwards and called out to the frog. “Have you ever seen the ocean? I love living in the ocean because I can see the boundless sky”.

After hearing that, the frog at the bottom of the well was curious and astonished. He looked up at the sky and said to himself “Isn’t the sky as big as the well?  Why did the sea turtle say the sky is boundless?

Albeit, the frog is happy and believed he was the best and smartest creature alive. According to him, the well was his kingdom. He knows only what he knows and assumes the sky is as big as his refuge.

Mum told me this  story because I was young  at the time and to show me that as a person I needed to keep my mind open, and never believe to believe I have learnt all that I needed to know.  Just like the frog in this story, he finally met an old turtle and began to discover more about himself and also a different way of thinking. As a human being some of us whose knowledge is so limited that we has no idea about anything aside from our own world. This idiom serves as a metaphor for proud people with narrow outlooks and limited experiences.

So how do we apply this idiom story to your life and business?

  • Hiding inside your surroundings (comfort zone) is one way from stopping you from learning and growing. It prevents you from experiencing anything different, fun, quirky, unique or challenging. Facing your fears can be tricky and if you are conquering your fear you will excel. Isn’t this what our life is all about? Your business should not be any different.

  • Get yourself uncomfortable by stepping outside your comfort zone. Becoming uncomfortable means challenging your skills. Do activities outside your character or finding answers that question your beliefs! For example, the hottest topic at the moment is Social media. Instead of building up negative connotations about it, how about learning more about how it works and how you can leverage it and apply it to your business.

  • Get rid of the “I know” syndrome. All it does is limit your thinking and learning. People will not share their knowledge with you because you have sent out the “I know” signal. Also once you have made up your mind that you know it all, as a person you will not look for things or opportunities to learn and grow.

  • Have an open mind. Be a sponge and suck up all the knowledge you have learnt and apply it to your life and business.

So what is the benefit of breaking out of your comfort zone?
  • Your Growth- As a person we want to see ourselves advance and grow to the next level. You’ll become a better person. Putting yourself on the chorus line will give you new experiences and to learn more about yourself and what you will and won’t do.

  • Competence and Confidence- Facing your fears and the unknown will take lots of learning and practicing. This is how you build your competency by training yourself with new experiences, new skills or systems and once you can  understand the whole process you will build up the confidence to apply it into your Business LifeStyle.

  • Pride in what you do– Just say you step out of your comfort zone and your experience was a letdown. Do you realise that this is how we learn in life… through experiences? You will feel great as you have now overcome your own fear factor. That is a good reason to celebrate.

  • Fun – get some fun and adventure into your life and business. By adding fun activities will spice up your Business LifeStyle so you can never be bored. It breaks up the monotony of your day to day too.

So I hope you enjoyed this last tale of Tales my mum told me volume 1. Each volume has 12 stories. Each story I share with you is from what  my mum told me as I was growing up and how I have applied each of them  in my Business LifeStyle. Now I would like to share these tales with you .

Once again, thanks for visiting our blog and please come back as we will be jammed pack full of business tips to help you move forward with your Business LifeStyle.

More Tales My Mother Told Me…



Volume 1:

Tale 9:“Being Present

About The Author

I am a Business LifeStyle coach who specialises in working with artists, designers, crafters and all creative professionals. Myself and my partner Stuart Horrex are here to help you to achieve your Life & business goal and dreams. We have had over 20 years experience in finance, retail,furniture,food,wine fashion,crafts and hospitality.

Leave A Response