An elderly Chinese woman owned two large pots. The two pots were hung on the ends of a pole that the woman carried across her neck. Day after day, the woman engaged in the same routine. She walked to a nearby stream, filled the two pots with water, and walked back to her house. By the time the elderly woman got back home, one of the pots was still full of water but the other was only half full. THis second pot, in fact, had a crack in it, which was why some the water was lost during the long walk home. Every day for more than two years, the woman brought home only one-and-a-half pots of water when she could have brought home two full pots.

The two pots had different reactions to this fact. The pot that had no crack felt proud of its accomplishments. After all, every day it ensured that a full pot of water reached home. The pot with the crack, instead felt miserable: it was ashamed of its own imperfection and disappointed that it could do only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years, the cracked pot decided to share its feelings with the old woman. “I am ashamed of myself,” it confessed, explaining that its crack, as she may have noted, caused water to leak out during her walk back to the house. 

The old woman, well aware of the crack, smiled at the pot. She asked the pot whether it noticed that there were flowers on its side of the path but not on the other pot's side. Knowing about the crack, the woman had decided to plant flower seeds on that side for the path and water them every day while she walked back home. “For two years,” the woman told the cracked pot, “I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, this beauty would not grace my home.”

         Gino. F. (2013), Sidetracked: why our decisions get derailed, and how we can stick to the plan. Harvard Business Review Press.