The Story of Bullshit


Have you heard of the story of bullshit before? It goes like this:

A pheasant was standing in a field chatting with a bull. (Celes: A pheasant is a kind of bird.)

“I would love to be able to get to the top of yonder tree,”  sighed the pheasant, “but I haven’t got the energy.”

Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.”

The pheasant pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. And so on. Finally, after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. This was when he was spotted by a farmer who dashed into the farmhouse, emerged with a shotgun, and shot the pheasant right out of the tree. 

Moral of the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

Have you met someone who bullsh*ts before? I’m sure you have. Perhaps you are dealing with such a person right now. Perhaps the bullshitter is someone in your workplace or industry. Perhaps the person is doing very well — earning lots of money, highly successful, and very well-regarded — perhaps even more so than you.


While I can’t tell you that people who bullshit will not rise in success (because I have, in fact, come across bullshitters who become very successful due to their BS), what I can tell you is, “Keep your chin up.” Because while people who bullshit can do well, they can never have your integrity, earnest attitude, and honest beliefs. While they can hop through the steps required for success and get ahead using lies and facades, they can’t claim to have succeeded through hard work and integrity (I suppose they can, but then they’d be making another lie right there).

Look, success is not easy. It takes lots of hard work and perseverance. But I believe the path is much more enjoyable and integrious when you stick to your guns and values. Even if the journey takes longer and more work, at least you can sleep peacefully at night and hold your head up high in the day, knowing that you’ve done what’s right.

So, keep your chin up! :) Don’t worry about bullshitters. While you can’t change what others do, you can choose what YOU do in your journey to greatness. And what I believe what we should always do is act in truth, honesty, and integrity, no matter the shortcuts, “rewards” that may come from using deceit or misrepresentation. This is what it means to walk a path of honesty. This is what it means to live with integrity and to live a life well lived. :)

Of course, be smart in how you work as well. Hard work is important but so are smarts. Here are my articles on being “smarter” in business and life:

At the end of the day, remember: success built on truth, ability, and value will always be unshakable, unlike success built on cow dung. Cow dung is soft unless the cow is constipated, in which case it would need to eat some fruits.

For more big-idea stories, read:

On dealing with dishonest people, read: How To Deal With Dishonest People


Image: Shit