Think like a master? How do we do that? Here’s how. Something unusual has happened? Disaster or blessing? Is it worth exploring? Do not judge it, examine it first. Remain calm, keep the emotion out of it, and examine the situation. Here are a couple of stories to help you understand.
One day, as the people gathered in the market square as was their custom each day, something unusual happened. A cart overturned, blocking the narrow street which most people used to access the square. Worse yet, the horse was still trapped in the traces and was kicking at everyone who tried to get near, thus preventing people from clearing the street. The harder they tried, and the more frustrated they got, the more the horse fought them. This went on for some time, and everyone was very upset as they could not get to the market square.
Suddenly there was a shout from the back of the crowd. “Look, it’s the old master from the hills, he will know what to do.” Everyone stopped shouting and rushed to the old man as he slowly approached.
“Master, Master, a cart has fallen and the horse will not let us clear it away, we cannot get to market. Please help us.”
Smiling to himself, the old man approached to view the situation closely. The frightened horse lashed out at him and he danced nimbly out of the way. The old fellow looked carefully at the horse, then at the cart, then smiled to himself as he walked around the block and entered the square from another direction. Quietly, the others followed him, embarrassed. The old fellow then approached the horse from the front, calmed him, shared a carrot, then unhooked the tired animal from the traces and led him to the water.
Moral of the story? Take another look before you act. Knee jerk reactions are rarely the best solutions, and the proper solution will usually present itself if you just take a second look. It comes back to asking yourself a better question, or a different question. The question here for most of the people was not “How do we clear away the cart that is blocking the street?” it was, “How do we get into the square?”
See, different questions bring different solutions.
Ok, here’s another story.
A young fellow preparing for university was called home early by his father, the carpenter. His father had been laid off, worse yet, the money for the boy’s education had been invested poorly. The family was bankrupt. The boy fell into depression and didn’t speak for weeks until he had a visit from his grandmother. “What am I supposed to do now?” he wailed. “Dad ruined my life.”
“Your life is only in ruins if you choose it to be,” she smiled softly.
“So, what am I supposed to do now, pump gas for the rest of my life?”
“Work is a privilege, not a birthright. If this is the work you have been allotted, then be the best damn gas pumper in the world. Be so good everyone in town will come to you for their gas just because it is you.” With that, she walked out of his room.
The next morning he went to work, vowing to heed her advice. Even though he worked for a self serve station, he began pumping gas, checking oil, washing windshields, and every Monday morning thereafter he gave every female customer a rose.
So, where is he now? He retired early, owner of dozens of stations, a well known franchise. Many of his school chums who went to university ended up working for him. His business manager, his accountant, lawyer, etc.
So, what happened? He asked a better question. “How can I turn this situation to my advantage? His grandmother visited the next day with the answer.
Moral of the story? Never panic. I too have lost a business I spent years building up. Sudden bankruptcy wasn’t my best day, but life handed me new opportunities, new directions, and I have greatly enjoyed the journey. I still am, and you can too.
Think like a master, enjoy the journey, be blessed.
If you have questions, if there is a point you would like to discuss with me, or if there is something you would like to see me address, don’t be shy, drop me a line. Prudence