The Seeker of Truth
After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. 'Ask the well what is truth', he was advised, 'and the well will reveal it to you'. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, 'Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking'.
Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.
Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, 'You will understand in the future.' When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of - or so he thought at the time - the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.
Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.
At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.
“There are no secrets. There are no tricks. If anything, it’s the opposite. Whether you are a pro athlete, or a guy running a business, or driving a truck, or going to school, it’s simple…there are no shortcuts. It’s ultimately your mental focus and concentration that determines whether you succeed or fail.” - Tim Grover
How are you concentrating on being successful?
A wagon train of pioneers was headed across the western plains when a lookout spotted a cloud of dust in the distance moving toward them.
"Indians!" cried the leader of the pioneers. He ordered the wagons to form a circle behind a hill.
Soon, the Indians arrived, and the tall figure of an Indian Chief stood silhouetted against the sky. The leader of the pioneers decided to climb the hill, face the chief, and attempt to communicate.
From the start, it was evident that neither man could speak the other's language. After some give and take, the chief backed away and went quickly down the hill, and the leader of the pioneers returned to the wagon train.
"What happened?" the people asked.
"Well, as you saw, we couldn't speak each other's language. I drew a circle in the dust with my finger to show that we were all one country. He looked at the circle and drew a line through it. He meant, of course, that there are two nations - the white man's and the Indian's. But I pointed my finger to the sky to indicate that we were all one under God. Then he reached into his loin skins and took out an onion, which he gave to me. Naturally, I understood that it indicated the multiple layers of understanding available to everyone. To show him, I understood his meaning; I ate the onion. Then I reached into my coat and offered him an egg to show our goodwill, but he was too proud to accept my gift. He just turned and walked away."
Meanwhile, the Indians were taking arrows out of their quivers and readying their bows. The only needed the command of their Chief to attack. But the Chief held up his hand and began to tell them what had happened on the hilltop.
"When we came face-to-face," he said, "we immediately knew we did not speak the same tongue. That man then drew a circle in the dust. I knew he meant we were surrounded. I drew a line through the circle to show him that we would cut them in half. Then he raised his finger to the sky as if to say that he could take us on all by himself. Then I gave him an onion to tell him that he would soon taste the bitter tears of defeat and death. But he ate the onion in defiance! Then he showed me an egg to tell me how fragile our position is. Let's get out there!"
This is a case in which a disaster was averted through communication, but only because the communicators completely misunderstood each other. Dumb luck prevailed, and that's something none of us can count on anywhere. It behooves everyone to become an effective communicator. If you don't, you better circle the wagons.
From: Leadership...with a human touch, February 16, 1993, Pages 9-11
“The quickest way may not necessarily be the best.” - Kalpana Chawla
When was the last time you stopped to think before you acted?
“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” - John F. Kennedy
What are you willing to do to achieve greatly?
“A leader is a person who can adapt principles to circumstances.” - General George S. Patton
How do you adapt your principles to your circumstances?
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” - Jim Rohn
What does your leadership style say about you?
Aesop, the legendary storyteller, offers the following fable about our sometimes irresistible urge to criticize:
A boy who'd gone swimming in a river was about to drown. He called for help from a man onshore. Instead of helping the boy, the man began criticizing him for taking chances. "Oh sir," the boy yelled, "please help me now and scold me later!"
Aesop's point (a good one for leaders): "Counsel without help is useless."
From: Leadership...with a common touch, October 16, 2001, Page 3
“Were we to take as much pains to be what we ought, as we do to disguise what we are, we might appear like ourselves without being at the trouble of any disguise at all.” - La Rochefoucauld
How are you disguising what you truly want to be?
“What if miracles look like aberrations because we have accepted the world as it is and not as it should be?” - Erwin Raphael McManus
How are you turning the impossible into the possible?
The Boulders in Your Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around the boulder.
Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the boulder out of the way.
A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
Moral of the story: Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances, and whilst the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity, and willingness to get things done.
“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” - Charles Bukowski
Who has the world told you to be?
“The dead are living all around us, watching with eager anticipation how we will handle the opportunities they left in our hands when they died.” - Theodore C. Speers
How will your ancestors feel about the life you are living?
“Unless the job means more than the pay it will never pay more.” - H. Bertram Lewis
What motivates your work ethic?
A foreman was driving his crew home from the job. Just as he approached a stretch of road that curved around a steep hill, an oncoming car came careening around the curve and almost swerved into him. As the car went past, the woman driving it yelled out her window, "Pig!"
Shocked and insulted - he wasn't the one driving selfishly - the foreman yelled back, "Cow!"
As he drove around the curve, he turned to his crew and boasted, "I guess I told her!" Then suddenly, he was swerving to avoid a large pig standing in the center of the road.
The lesson? When the road ahead isn't clear, don't mistake a warning for an insult.
From: Leadership...with a human touch, October 16, 2001, Page 15
Author & Motivational Speaker
Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his eleven-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and hostage negotiating expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.