There is an often-quoted proverb, “who will bell the cat?” which means, who will take the initiative to do something to overcome a challenging problem.The following anecdote goes on to explain:

Once there was a group of rats living in a home. The rats faced a major challenge, that is the owner of the house had a pet cat, who often would take the rats by surprise as it walked very softly. One day the rats had a meeting in which the senior rat expressed his desire “I wish if we could tie a bell around the neck of the cat, so whenever it is approaching, the sound of the bell will forewarn us.Every rat in the meeting felt silent as the very ideas of doing it sent chills up and down their spine. After a few minutes a young rat broke the silence by offering that he will do it. All the other rats gasped for air, and almost in unison blurted “How can you even think of doing it, are you stupid, do you think the cat will just lay still while you tie the bell, do you want to commit suicide?” The young rat who had volunteered fell silent, till the elderly rat who was chairing the meeting asked the other rats to be quiet and encouraged the young rat to share what he had in mind. The young rat went on to explain his plan “Before moving into this house, I had lived for a few months with a group of rats in a chemist shop. In the very beginning, the other rats had warned me what not to eat, namely the sleeping pills, because once you consume them, you go into a long and a deep slumber.”

The young rat went on to explain his plan, “Tomorrow night I will visit the chemist shop and share with the rats there about our challenge and they will help me gather the sleeping pills. I will then put those sleeping pills in the container in which the owner puts the milk for the cat to drink, when the cat and the owner are not around. When the cat drinks the milk with the dissolved sleeping pills in it, it will soon go into a deep slumber, and then we can go and tie the bell around the cat’s neck.”

On hearing the plan, the other rats in unison started to applaud the young rat. Similarly in life, all of us need to encourage each other, ask questions and refrain from jumping to conclusions. Alone we have limitations, but the power of the collective wisdom is amazing.



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