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Clients First: The Two Word Miracle by JoAnn Callaway, Joseph Callaway

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A Single Straw

Do you ever wonder how old sayings came to be? Picture a North African farmer as poor as the dirt he cultivates. One day he collects his camel, the only thing he owns of real value, and begins loading his meager harvest into baskets tied to an old leather harness. Pitchfork by pitchfork, he fills the baskets until all is done. The old camel is not what he used to be and struggles under the load. Just then, the peasant spies a straw in the corner of the loading stall. He bends to retrieve the slip of grass and then tosses it high to land in the uppermost basket. An awful shriek fills the air as the camel feels the crack of one vertebrae and then another. The animal falls to the ground, crying in agony, as the impoverished man helplessly observes the catastrophic event.

So many bad things happen this way. One small thing touches off disaster. Whether it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back or the theory that the single beat of a butterfly’s wings can birth a hurricane halfway around the world, small events can be tipping points that cause very large events to follow.

If this works for bad things, is it possible the same holds true for good things as well? The laws of physics hold that for every action in the universe there is an equal and opposite reaction. Without good, we cannot define evil. If small tipping points set us on the road to ruin, there must be small tipping points that set us on the road to success. In the arts, it’s called getting a key break. In ...

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