The parable of the wind and the sun

A few incidents had me talking about the effects of kindness over force to a wiser friend. She remarked that our discussion reminded her of the parable of the wind and the sun. Ever since we had that conversation, the parable has popped into my head as I reflected on a couple of places where I stumbled recently. Here is the story – thank you Bartleby.com.


The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly, they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.”

So, the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But, the harder he blew, the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair.

The Sun, then, came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

wind and the sun, pressure, kindness, severity

Moral of the story: “Kindness affects more than severity.”


This is an example I know to be true and one that I remember very clearly. However, in Hogan’s terms, people who have “Boldness” as a defining characteristic tend to default to arrogance and aggressiveness under pressure. So, as I recently discovered, I have remembered this in the good times and completely forgotten this when under pressure.

A great lesson – one that I definitely need to do better at.

Added note: I am reminded of the quote – “When you want to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department uses water.” 🙂

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