You are probably familiar with the tale of the Tower of Babel by now. It’s a Biblical story that takes place in Babylonia some time after the Deluge. The people of Babylonia were descendants of Noah who spoke one language and who lived in prosperity and abundance. So one day they became vain with all their success and they decided to build a very high building to reach to the heavens and rival God. But while they were busy making plans, God was busy laughing at them. The old Yiddish proverb “Man plans, God laughs” couldn’t be more fitting to summarize this story.
Naturally God was offended by their insolence. So he confused their language. When people started talking multiple languages all of a sudden, they couldn’t communicate with each other and the instruction of the tower came to a halt. In time people were scattered all around the world and the Babylon civilization collapsed, giving birth to the languages as we know them.
It’s not a coincidence that the word Babel means “confusion”. Of course there is no historical evidence to back this story, for all we know it could be some myth (and it probably is). But we can still learn a lesson or two from the mistakes of the people of Babylonia and try to adapt those lessons into our daily/business life. Because although none of us will probably (and even hopefully) go out and try to build a tower to challenge God; there can still be times when we go too far or act careless. So in a nutshell, the morale of the story is how destructive vanity can be.
Too much of it can destroy all your hard work and can even render you blind. Another possible deduction is that even though it’s great to search for new horizons and be brave; one should know when to challenge and when to back down. Like with everything else, balance is the key. In business life our motivation should never be to show off or to simply rival; but our motivation should always be to best ourselves and extend our limits. Broadening your horizon may be good but being blind to the risks while doing that is bad.
It’s one thing to be innovative but another to lose your forward-thinking while doing that. More often than not business world doesn’t forgive negligence. Life is never a straight line; business life is even unsteadier. While we are planning, we should think of for every possible scenario.
Because like Ringo Starr says: “Tomorrow never knows”. It’s probably one of the most shared experiences of human kind to plan one thing and then to end up with something completely different. To avoid this paradox, we must always hope for the best, prepare for the worst (especially in the business life). There is always the variable of the unknown and the unexpected. So as Theodore Roosevelt says “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground!”