It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon in a small town near Toronto in Canada. Two school-going friends had a crazy idea. They rounded up three goats from the neighbourhood and painted the numbers 1, 2 and 4 on their sides. That night, they let the goats loose inside their school building. The next morning, when the authorities entered the school, they could smell something was wrong.
They soon saw goat droppings on the stairs and near the entrance and realized that some goats had entered the building. A search was immediately launched and very soon, the three goats were found. However, the authorities were worried, where was goat number 3? They spent the rest of the day looking for goat number 3. The school declared classes off for the students for the rest of the day.
The teachers, helpers, guards, canteen staff, boys were all busy looking for the goat number 3, which, of course, was never found, simply because it didn’t exist. There are some great lessons in this very short story. They are highlighted below:
1. Most of us are busy looking for what doesn’t even exist. The whole school and the school authorities were busy looking for the third goat, which wasn’t created or numbered by the students or the script writers. I’m sure the script writers will be calm, while they keep laughing internally at the stupidity and ignorance of the whole school.
2. We should enjoy what is seen instead of focusing and thinking on what is unseen (imaginary). The whole school couldn’t even get the time to deliberate on what to do with the goats who have numbers 1, 2, and 4 written on them. They didn’t understand who wrote those numbers or why the numbers were written. Sometimes we get busy focusing on the unimportant things instead of the important ones.
3. Things are not always the way we think they are or should be. The whole school thought to themselves that since numbers 1, 2, and 4 exist, there must be number 3. But, they were wrong. The script writers didn’t include number 3 in their play. This happens in life, too. Most of us struggle to have some things by all means. However, no matter how hard we struggle, we don’t get them. It could just be that those things were not created for us, just like the number 3 goat wasn’t created by the two students. No matter how hard or how long the whole school keep searching for it, they will never find it, because it doesn’t exist.
4. The unpredictability of life. As humans, we always think because there is this, there must be that. We always think we can predict life: that things must go a certain way because that is how they have been happening in the past. The drama showed us that we can’t predict anything unless we are the creators. It showed us that we can’t always be right.
5. What you don’t know can trouble your life. If the whole school had known that the script writers didn’t include number 3 in their script, they wouldn’t have gone into the trouble of looking for what doesn’t exist. They were troubled because they were ignorant. The two students who wrote the numbers on the goats were the only ones who were not troubled because they know the truth. You’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free. However, ignorance is a disease that will trouble you.
6. Experience is not always the best teacher. Those who were looking for number 3 were using their experience of past situations. They relied on the experience of how things used to be or should be. However, in this case, they were disappointed by their experiences. Their experience didn’t become their best teacher. Instead, experience became their foolishness.
7. Majority is not always right. Everyone, except the two students, believed that as long as there is 1 to 4, then there must be number 3. That is the belief of the majority. No one cared to engage in critical thinking if there is a possibility of the non-existence of number 3. This is the reason some people get lost in the world, because they are always following the crowd instead of thinking for themselves.
8. Your assumptions are not always correct. Everyone assumed there must be number 3. They want to follow the order of things. Meanwhile, there are sometimes disruptions in life. Things don’t always follow the order or patterns we have known.
9. The instability of life. Just like I have stated above, life is unstable. It is not always about what you have known or experienced in the past. Time changes. Bad things happen to good people. And good things happen to bad people. This is one of the instabilities of life.
10. Life is sometimes an experiment. Or a joke.😂 Well, we don’t always know everything. What if everything happening in the world presently is just an experiment created by someone somewhere? What if life is just a comedy? What if life wasn’t meant to be taken so seriously the way some of us take it now? What if life is just a joke created by some people to laugh at our stupidity and ignorance, just like the two students will be laughing at the stupidity and ignorance of the whole school?