The Difference Between Heaven and Hell…. On Earth.

Heaven and Hell – taught at school….? 

Let me take you back more than 25 years ago. 

Back to a day where my biggest concerns were making sure I copied my homework correctly from the class boffin and the same days when there were riots when the sandwiches had peanut butter on them and a hunger-strike when they were filled with egg mayonnaise! When the seasons of spring, winter, autumn and summer were of less significance than the seasons of marbles, yo-yo’s, smurfs and …. for the girls, “swaps”! 

Yup, we are going back to those days in junior school. Back to the days of innocence and thinking that David Hasslehoff was cool because  he spoke to his car… and his car spoke back to him! Nowadays, that kind of behaviour would be met with the men in  white coats coming to visit!

 Anyway, the junior school that I went to, like most schools in SA, we would start the day with a morning assembly  which in itself was a bit of a feat. Getting circa 200 children into a hall, making them sit on the floor and keep them  focused for half an hour (which seems like a lifetime when you are 6 years old) is not the easiest thing in the world  to do.

 Anyway, these morning assembly’s were basically made up of announcements, lost property handed back to those of us “forgetful deliquants” ( this is NOT a time that you wanted your Mum to have been diligent enough to sew your name tag into your underpants!), normally a rant about how poorly we were performing and should be ashamed of ourselves, then a thought for the day and end it all off with a hymn from the projector upfront.

Now, this “thought for the day” was taken by different teachers and normally meant to inspire us I guess. The fact that most of it went straight over our heads was not taken into account. There was one particular day that did sit with me for a while.

It was a story presented by the fearsome music teacher, Ms Webb. Ms Webb was nobody to be messed  with and headed up choir selection which was a very scary process and certainly “not cool” if you got selected and potentially a lot more dangerous if you refused!!

The story went as follows :

There once was a man who died and went up to Heaven. He met St Peter at the Pearly gates and was asked his name to which he replied. St Peter then said to him “Okay then, do you want to go to Heaven or Hell”?

The Choice of Heaven or Hell…?

“Well, I haven’t really been a good man nor a particularly bad man….!” Came the response. “So what is the difference?” 

St Peter looked at him and said, “Tell you what, how about I take you to both and you can make you decision from there?”

This sounded like a pretty good idea to the man so first they went to Hell.

On getting to Hell, the man was quite shocked to see a beautiful place full of long tables with the finest food imaginable on it. The thing was though, the people in Hell were all starving. They were screaming out in agony about how hungry they were and looking skinny and malnourished. The man looked at St Peter and said, “Why aren’t they eating all this beautiful food?”

 The response came, “There is a rule in Hell that everyone can eat as much as they like, but they have to use these 4  ft chop-sticks in order to eat the food with. As 4ft is longer than these peoples arms, they are not able to put the  food with the chopsticks and put it in their mouths … so they are all starving.

 The man left Hell and said that he wanted to go and see Heaven.

 St. Peter took him to Heaven and as he walked in, he saw that it was exactly the same as Hell. There were the long  tables  with all the finest food available but everyone was happy and well fed.

The man looked at St Peter and said to him “Do they have the 4ft chop sticks rule here too?” To which the response came “Yup!”

The man said to St Peter “How come then these people are all well fed and happy?”

The response came again, “Because whilst these people also have to use the chop sticks and therefore can’t feed themselves, they have have learnt to feed each other…”

Well, I kind of liked that – even at that age.

Funnily enough, I guess we don’t always change for the better as we get older. With all the different businesses I have worked with, be it International Financial Institutions, right down to very small SME type outfits, so often the vast majority of the people in and around the business have their own agenda’s that they want to work towards. This is normally for their own individual benefit as opposed to the benefit of the company as a whole.

Any company that can unite all parties concerned in a solid vision – for the business and as a by-product of that, will then benefit all people who are effected by the company – employees, customers, management etc, is going to be a very successful outfit.

This is truly going to be what Stephen Covey speaks about as far as “Principle based business”.

It’s much easier said than done though :-)

Here’s to your Health, Wealth and Happiness!


 MOBIvation <<<<—– Bringing together a vision of success

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  1. vicki-leigh says

    :-) love it PH !! Great inspiration and message for all in this article. Got goosebumps when i got to the heaven part..just makes one realise that this story and lesson behind it does not only pertain to the workplace but one can certainly apply same in any aspect or situation in our lives really. Thank u for insPHiring me:-) xxx

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