Years ago the people of a very successful civilization thought they had all the answers to success. The king called the wisest people in the kingdom together and said, “I want you to put down all the reasons why we are successful. Place them in writing so future generations will be able to read it and duplicate our success.” They worked for approximately two years and came back with the answer, and it consisted of nine volumes.
The ruler looked at it and said, “This is great, but it’s too large.” He then challenged them to simplify their findings. They worked another year and finally narrowed it down to one book. The King said, “That is fine, but it is still to lengthy. Refine it.” They worked another year and finally reported back with their findings, now contained on one page.
The king said, “You have done a great job, but it is still too long. Please reduce our formula for success to the lowest common denominator.” They worked another year and had it down to one paragraph. The King said, “That’s great, but it is still far to complicated. Keep working until everyone understands why we are successful.”
Six months later they came back with their findings confined to one sentence. The king looked at it and said it was absolutely great. If all future generations understood this, they would be in a position to conquer anything. The sentence read, “There ain’t no free lunch,” which says it all.
Story by Lou Holtz