The scorpion and the frog (The Financial Athlete #24)

Here’s an old Shaolin story, although embellished by ‘pastamanvibration’.

On a river bank, a frog kept a safe distance from a scorpion, so the scorpion had to shout to the frog. “I also want to cross the river. May I sit on your back while you swim across the river?”

“Do you think I’m stupid?” the frog shouted back. “You will sting me with venom!”

“I am not stupid, either.” assured the scorpion. “If I sting you, we will both drown!”

The frog reckoned this made good sense and allowed the scorpion to climb on its back in the water. Midway through the river, the scorpion stung the frog. Stunned, the frog froze. “Why did you sting me? Now we will both drown!”

The scorpion whispered, “I cannot help myself. It is my nature.”


On the surface, sports is a matter of movement of the body and investing is a matter of movement of money. Below the surface, these activities engage a process of self discovery, for which the story of the scorpion and the frog is about.

Who is the scorpion? Who is the frog? Both are within you. The frog in you does things you know you shouldn’t do, but you rationalize and do them anyway. The scorpion in you illustrates that part of your nature which you have not yet learned to control. The frog will always accomodate the scorpion. Indeed, the frog is stupid.

No surprise this story came from a mind of a disciplined, Shaolin kung fu master. Over the course of his life, he would have encountered many who could punch and kick expertly, but lack mastery. Control over one’s own mind distinguishes a true master from someone with mere expert skills. Only a master recognizes the voice of the scorpion within and it falls on deaf ears of the frog within.

(Source of photo above:


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