守株待兔 (shou3 zhu1 dai4 tu4)
Photo: AP/Wally Santana
(It’s unrealsitic to think you can just sit back and wait for things to come to you. You should rely on hard work.)
(Smart people don’t just hope things will turn out fine. They fix the roof while the sun shines.)
Waiting for a windfall
There is a legend that a farmer living in ancient China who thought he could just rely on luck to survive.
One day, a rabbit sprang out from behind a bush and ran across his field. It didn’t notice a tree stump in its path and crashed into it, breaking its neck instantly.
The farmer picked up the rabbit, took it home, skinned it and made a rabbit stew.
From that day on, he let his fields go uncultivated. He decided if it happened once, it would happen again. It never did, and he starved.
The story is a caution about the importance of hard work, and not to rely on chance to bring you what you need. In that way, it is similar to the English idiom “waiting for a windfall.”
The word windfall dates back to the 15th century, and literally means something, such as fruit on a tree, being dislodged by the wind and falling to the ground. By extension, it also means an unexpected and unearned gain, gift or advantage.
You still haven’t thought about a pension? Are you counting on a windfall in later life?
They’re handing out 100 shares to each employee? That’s a bit of a windfall.
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