The Frog & The Scorpion

According to the book where I got this story from, this is one most important stories to keep in mind. However, I am not quite sure I understand it. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this.

According to this story, the frog and the scorpion appear on the bank of a river at about the same time. The frog is about to jump in the river and swim to the other side. When the scorpion sees what is about to happen, he engages the frog in a conversation. He says to him, “Mr. Frog, I see that you are about to jump in the river and swim to the other side.” The frog responds, “That is correct.” So, the scorpion ask for a favor, “Well, you know I would also like to get to the other side. Unfortunately, I’m a scorpion and I can’t swim. Would you be so kind to let me hop on your back as you swim across the river? If you could deposit me on the other side, I would be grateful.” The frog looks at the scorpion and says, “No, you’re a scorpion and scorpions sting frogs and kill them. I get out there halfway with you on my back, and you’d sting me and I die. Do you think I’m crazy? I absolutely will not.” The scorpion says, “Wait a minute. You are not thinking. If I were to sting you halfway out there, surely, you’d die but so would I. Since I am a scorpion, I can’t swim. I drown. That would be kind of foolish. I am not about to do that. I just want to get to the other side. The frog thinks about that reasoning and says, “That makes sense. Hop on!” So, the scorpion hops on the frog’s back and they start to swim across the river. Sure enough, halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. They are now both about to sink down into the water. The frog cannot believe what has happened and he says to the scorpion, “Why did you do that? I am about to die but so are you. Why would you do that?” And the scorpion replies, “Because I am a scorpion.”

I am not quite sure of my interpretation about it because it was dubbed as one of the most important stories in leadership so I Googled it and here’s one that I found.

Before getting too invested or too emotionally attached to someone, you should always try to figure out what their nature is. Who they really ARE. Not who they are presenting to you at that moment. We can all employ masks at certain times, when needed, to make ourselves appear better than we really might be. We’re also all susceptible to caving under pressure, feeling exhausted/drained/fed up, losing our cool and showing a side of ourselves that’s much worse than who really are. Those “I’m so sorry. I’m not myself right now. I don’t know what got into me. I’m not usually like that” moments that keep us up at night.

We all have our temporary ups and downs. Good days and bad days. Highs and lows. Angel moments and devil moments. Anomalies aside, everyone has a true nature. You are who you are at a core level. it’s important to try and figure out/see through the short-term spikes/dips, so you can understand who someone truly IS before getting in too deep.

In the story, the Frog makes the unfortunate and soon-regrettable decision to trust the Scorpion. A smile, a few charming words and a very temporary and very misleading representation of who he was is all it took for the Frog to let his guard down and forget/ignore what he already knew the Scorpion to be.

Scorpions will do scorpion shit. We really can’t be mad at a scorpion for acting like a scorpion. “It’s in their nature”. Instead, it’s on us to do a better job of controlling who we let into our lives and who we spend our time and energy on. It’s our job to pay more attention. Let’s try our best to avoid traps, avoid wasted time, avoid being hurt unnecessarily and to simply start paying more attention. If we can do that, then hopefully we won’t end up like our homeboy the Frog.

The interpretation seems to be about Relationships, Interactions and Expectations. I think I understand that “Scorpions sting and you can’t blame them when they do because it’s in their nature.” However, I can’t seem to relate this to leadership. I would really be happy to hear your interpretations.


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