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The Toothpick Story

The Toothpick Story


You can't trade a toothpick for a TV until you learn the secret of the Toothpick Story.

Below is a transcript you can use to follow the video with links to more information on the topic.


I want to tell you a story about a game. It's called the toothpick game.

There were some college students, and they couldn't drink on campus, so they invented this game to pass the time.

The point of the game was to start with the toothpick and come home with the largest prize by the end of the night. The strategy of the game was to go door to door, and exchange that toothpick for something slightly better every time.

So if you started with the toothpick, you'd exchange that toothpick for a stick of gum. And then exchange that stick of gum for a magazine. And then that magazine for something larger, and larger, each time.

Eventually, some of these kids were coming home with a new television or a set of golf clubs. Not because they tried to exchange their toothpick for the television, but because they exchange that toothpick for something slightly better, and patiently, and persistently moved forward until they brought home the largest prize.

Morale of the story? If you want to accomplish anything, whether it's health related, business related, career related, relationship related, you can't expect to exchange your toothpick for a television set, you must exchange your toothpick for a stick of gum, and progressively get better, until you're at the point where you're ready to bring home the new TV.

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