Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Golden Apples

Hippomenes was a mythical, Greek young man who was in love with the beautiful Atalanta.  Atalanta, in addition to her striking beauty, was also a gifted runner, but she had a cruel, sadistic character.  Many young men became infatuated with her beauty and desired to marry her.  These men were challenged to a foot race with two conditions.  If the man won the race, he could marry Atalanta.  But if he lost, he would pay with his life.  Many a man tried and paid the ultimate price for his second place finish.

Hippomenes also became mesmerized by Atalanta’s beauty and challenged her to a race.  Shortly after the race began he lagging behind.  Reaching into his tunic, he withdrew a golden apple and threw it in front of the streaking Atalanta.  The flash of gold caught her eye and she stopped to pick up the golden fruit as Hippomenes raced by.  She soon recovered and again moved ahead of him.  Hippomenes pulled a second golden apple from his tunic and threw it in front of Atalanta who once again stopped to pick it up.  As Hippomenes passed the crouching Atalanta, she realized that the race was nearing the finish and she recovered soon enough to regain a comfortable lead with a short distance to go.

Hippomenes retrieved the last of his golden apples from his tunic and rolled it ahead of Atalanta as she approached the finish.  Atalanta was in a quandary; should she stop and pick up the apple or press for the finish line?  She reasoned that she certainly could do both, so she stopped to placed the golden fruit in her robe just a Hippomenes passed her and raced towards the finish.  She recovered, but now with such a short distance, she was not able to beat him.  Hippomenes had won!

This is not an illustration on how to find a life partner!  Rather, as you race through life, you will find the enemy of your soul rolling “golden apples” of opportunity, compromise and temptation in your path.  Are you stopping to admire these golden globes?  Have you picked them up and made them your own?

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