ONCE UPON A TIME LONG LONG AGO, two ambitious young cousins name Pablo and Bruno lived side by side in a small Italian village.
The young men were best buddies and big dreamers. They would talk endlessly about how some day, some way, they would become the richest men in the village. They were both bright and hard working. All they need was an opportunity.
One day that opportunity arrived. The village decided to hire the two men to carry water from a nearby river to a cistern in the town square. The job went to Pablo and Bruno. Each man grabbed two buckets and headed to the river. By the end of the day, they had filled the town cistern to the brim. The village elder paid them one penny for each bucket of water.
“This is our dream come true!” shouted Bruno. “I can’t believe our good fortune.”
But Pablo wasn’t so sure. His back ached and his hands were blistered from carrying the heavy buckets. He dreaded getting up and going to work the next morning. He vowed to think of a better way to getting the water from the river to the village.
Pablo, the Pipeline Man
“Bruno, I have a plan,” Pablo said the next morning as they grabbed their buckets and headed for the river.
“Instead of lugging buckets back and forth for pennies a day, let’s build a pipeline from the river to the village.”
Bruno stopped dead in his tracks.
“A pipeline! Whoever heard of such a thing?” Bruno shouted.
“We’ve got a great job, Pablo. I can carry 100 buckets a day. At a penny a bucket, that’s a dollar a day! I’m rich! By the end of the week, I can buy a new pair of shoes. By the end of the month, a cow. By the end of the six months, I can build a new hut. We have the best job in town. We have weekends off and two weeks’ paid vacation every year. We’re set for life! Get out of here with your pipeline.”
But Pablo was not easily discouraged. He patiently explained the pipeline plan to his best friend. Pablo would work part of the day carrying buckets and then part of the day and weekends building his pipeline. He knew it would be hard work digging a ditch in the rocky soil. Because he was paid by the bucket, he knew it his income would drop at first.
He also knew it would take a year, possibly two, before his pipeline would start to pay big dividends.
But Pablo believed in his dream, and he went back to work. Bruno and the rest of the villagers began mocking Pablo, calling him “Pablo the Pipeline Man.”
Bruno, who was earning almost twice as much money as Pablo, flaunted his new purchases. He bought a donkey outfitted with a new leather saddle, which he kept parked outside his new two storey hut. He bought flashy clothes and fancy meals in the inn. The villagers called him Mr. Bruno, and they cheered when he bought rounds at the tavern and laughed loudly at his jokes.
Small Actions Equal Big Results
While Bruno lay in his hammock on evenings and weekends, Pablo kept digging his pipeline. The first few months Pablo didn’t have much to show for his efforts. The work was hard – even harder than Bruno’s because Pablo was working evenings and weekends, too.
But Pablo kept reminding himself that tomorrow’s dreams are built on today’s sacrifices.
Day by day he dug, an inch at a time.“Inch by inch it’s a cinch,” he chanted to himself as he swung his pick ax into the rocky soil.
Inches turned into one foot… then 10 feet… then 20… 100…
“Short-term pain equals long-term gain,” he reminded himself as he stumbled into his humble hut exhausted from another day’s work.
He measured his success by setting and meeting his daily goals, knowing that, over time, the results would far exceed his efforts.
“Keep your eyes on the prize,” he repeated over and over as he drifted off to sleep accompanied by the sounds of laughter from the village tavern.
“Keep your eyes on the prize…”
The Tables Are Turned
Days turned into months. One day Pablo realized his pipeline was halfway finished, which meant he only had to walk half as far to fill up his buckets! Pablo used the extra time to work on his pipeline. The completion date was advancing faster and faster.
During his rest breaks, Pablo watched his old friend Bruno lug buckets. Bruno’s shoulders were more stooped than ever. He was hunched in pain, his steps slowed by the daily grind. Bruno was angry and sullen, resenting the fact that he was doomed to carry buckets, day in and day out, for the rest of his life. He began spending less time in his hammock and more time in the tavern.
When the tavern’s patron saw Bruno coming, they’d whisper, “Here comes Bruno the Bucket Man,” and they giggle when the town drunk mimicked Bruno’s stooped posture and shuffling gait. Bruno didn’t buy rounds or tell jokes anymore, preferring to sit alone in a dark corner surrounded by empty bottles.
Finally, Pablo’s big day arrived – the pipeline was complete!
The villagers crowded around as the water gushed out from the pipeline into the village cistern! Now that the village head a steady supply of water, people from the surrounding countryside moved into the village, and it grew and prospered.
Once the pipeline was completed Pablo didn’t have to carry buckets anymore. The water flowed whether he worked or not. It flowed while he ate. It flowed while he slept. It flowed on the weekends when he played. The more water flowed into the village, the more the money flowed into Pablo’s pockets!
Pablo the Pipeline Man became known as Pablo the Miracle Maker. Politicians lauded him for his vision and begged him to run for mayor. But Pablo understood that what he had accomplished wasn’t a miracle. It was merely the first stage of a big, big dream.
You see, Pablo had plans that reached far beyond his village. Pablo planned to build pipelines all over the world!
Recruiting His Friend to Help
The pipeline drove Bruno the Bucket Man out of business, and it pained Pablo to his old friend begging for free drinks in the tavern. So, Pablo arranged a meeting with Bruno.
“Bruno, I’ve come here to ask you for your help.”
Bruno straightened his stooped shoulders, and his dark eyes narrowed to a squint. “Don’t mock me,” Bruno hissed.
“I haven’t come here to gloat,” said Pablo. “I’ve come here to offer you a great business opportunity. It took me more than two years before my first pipeline was complete. But I’ve learned a lot during this two years! I know what tools to use. Where to dig. How to lay the pipe. I kept notes as I went along, and I’ve developed a system that will allow me to build another pipeline… and then another… and another.”
“I could build a pipeline a year by myself. But that would not be the best use of my time. What I plan to do is to teach you and others how to build a pipeline… and then have you teach others…and have each of them to teach others… until there is a pipeline to every village in the region… then a pipeline in every village in the country… and eventually a pipeline in every village in the world!”
“Just think,” Pablo continued, “we could make a small percentage of every gallon of water that goes through these pipelines. The more water flows through the pipelines, the more money will flow into our pockets. The pipeline I built isn’t the end of a dream. It’s only the beginning!”
Pipeline Dreams in a Bucket Carrying World
Years passed. Pablo and Bruno had long since retired. Their worldwide pipeline business was still pumping millions of dollars a year into their bank accounts. Sometimes on their trips throughout the countryside, Pablo and Bruno would pass young men carrying water buckets. The childhood friends would pull over and tell the young men their story and offer to help them build their pipeline. A few would listen and jump at the opportunity to start a pipeline business.
But sadly, most bucket carriers would hastily dismiss the notion of a pipeline. Pablo and Bruno heard the same excuses over and over.
“I don’t have the time.”
“My friend told me he knew a friend of a friend who tried to build a pipeline and failed.”
“Only the ones who get in early make money on pipelines.”
“I’ve carried buckets all my life. I’ll stick with what I know.”
“I know some people who lost money in a pipeline scam. Not me.”
It made Pablo and Bruno sad that so many people lacked vision. But both men resigned themselves to the fact that they lived in a bucket-carrying world… and that only a small percentage of peopled dared to dream pipeline dreams.
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