Does familiarity breed contempt?


We’ve all heard the saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.
Old clichés like this don’t exist for no reason.

They exist and persist because somehow their truths play out generation after generation.

This particular saying’s origin is linked back to one of Aesop’s fables, “The Fox and the Lion”.

Here is the fable:
“When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the woods. Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another the Fox went straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day with him, asking him how his family were, and when he should have the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his tail, he parted from the Lion without much ceremony.  Familiarity breeds contempt.”

So what do you think Aesop was trying to relay in this story?
In my opinion, the message is very clear.

Regardless of how Mr. Fox chooses to conduct himself around King Lion, there is one constant truth.

King Lion is very powerful, dangerous and could easily take Mr. Fox’s life.


Mr. Fox could hold ten such conversations with King Lion and this truth would not change.
The eleventh time could quite naturally be the last such talk.

The real tragedy is that after two encounters, Mr. Fox completely dismisses this truth, thereby opening himself to immense danger.

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’
Within these three words…there is quite a bit to consider.

These three words can be explored from a number of angles, but for this thought I’ll explore only one.

“Who or what” have you grown familiar with?
Do you still respect the talents, perspective, teachings or gifts you’ve received from this affiliation?
Do you find yourself pointing out the faults, much faster than you count the blessings of this relationship?

It just might be time to take a personal familiarity inventory and recalibrate.  


Otherwise, you could be acting just like Mr. Fox and setting yourself up for future failure.

This week…take a personal familiarity inventory…then recalibrate.

Your livelihood…your relationships…or maybe even your life could depend on it.
…and remember to stay inspired; it’s lifestyle choice!

About the Author:

Linal Harris
Global Entrepreneur – Certified Life Coach – Media Personality – Speaker


Linal Harris is a Corporate America graduate, global entrepreneur, certified life coach, and media personality. He has penned over 200 blog posts on his popular website of 5 years, and recorded over 200 radio shows on his weekly WVON 1690 AM talk radio program, “Inspirational Perspective”—which he also broadcasts live to his Periscope channel. Harris is a heavily sought-after speaker for conferences and events across the country. He is gifted in custom designing presentations for specific audiences that motivate and inspire. He has been called upon by numerous professional career organizations, universities and Fortune 500 companies to facilitate goal-setting sessions and provide inspirational talks. In 2015, Harris was inducted into Triton College’s Alumni Hall of Fame and he was the recipient of the 2013 Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence award and the 2012 Chicago Urban Roundtable’s 40 Game Changers Under 40 award.

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5 thoughts on “Does familiarity breed contempt?

  1. It is so easy to be like Mr Fox. We are daily facing King Lions and receiving daily mercy and grace without much thought of it. Your post brought this to the forefront of my mind. I don’t want this scenario to ever play out in my life. Good job.

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