Once there was a farmer who had a goat that he loved very much. The goat was good-natured and worked hard on the farm. It helped carry things, didn’t make noise or cause trouble, and was a pleasant companion to him and his children. The farmer marveled at how good the goat was, considering how little food and care it needed.
One day, the farmer accidentally fed the goat only half of its normal daily meal. At first the farmer was worried, but the next morning he found that the goat seemed fine, despite having only eaten the smaller amount of food. Amazed at his discovery, the farmer continued to feed the goat the new smaller amount every day, and the goat continued to do well, regardless.
With time, the farmer began to experiment with giving the goat less and less food each day, waiting to see at what point the goat would begin to cry and complain. He was amazed, however, to find that the goat continued to be productive and good-natured no matter how often he reduced the goat’s meal, and that it never complained. The farmer was delighted, because he could give the extra food to the other farm animals, who would moan loudly at even the slightest diminishment or delay in their allotment; but the goat never complained, seeming always to be content with however little it received.
One day, the farmer awoke to discover that the goat had starved to death during the night. The farmer could not believe his misfortune, having lost this most special animal. He also couldn’t imagine how it had happened, since the goat had always seemed to be content with so little.
If you have a valued project, person, or relationship in your life that seems to be content with very little, instead of imagining how you can give it less and less without worry, imagine how much better things could be if you gave it more.