The Japanese master Nan-in gave audience to a professor of philosophy. Serving tea, Nan-in filled his visitor’s cup, and kept pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could restrain himself no longer: “Stop! The cup is overfull, no more will go in.” Nan-in said, “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
Once a frog from the ocean came and jumped into a well. He got acquainted with the frog in the well and the well frog asked, ‘From where do you come?’ He said, ‘I have come from the ocean.’ The well frog asked, ‘Is it bigger than this well?’ Of course suspicion was in his eyes, doubt in his mind, ‘How can anything be bigger than this well where I live?’ The ocean frog laughed and said, ‘It is very difficult to say anything because there is no measure.’ The well frog said, ‘Then I will give you some measure so that you can.’ He jumped one quarter of the well, one fourth of the way across, and said, ‘Is it that big?’ The ocean frog laughed and said, ‘No.’ So he jumped half of the well, and said, ‘Is it that big?’ Again the ocean frog laughed and said, ‘No.’ Then he jumped three quarters and said, ‘Is it that big?’ Again the ocean frog said, ‘No.’ Then he jumped the whole well, the whole length, and said, ‘Now – now you cannot say no.’ The ocean frog said, ‘You may feel hurt, and I don’t want to be offensive, but still the answer is no.’ Then the well frog said, ‘Get out from here, you liar. Nothing can be bigger than this well!’
There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
If you manage to see how interconnected the game really is, then it becomes evident that cooperation and reciprocity are the best strategies of all.
“It seems a farmer was out working his field when his plow caught on something, and it wouldn’t budge. The horse reared up and the farmer cursed. After calming the horse the farmer yanked back on the braces. But the plow still wouldn’t budge. Because he was an impatient man his first reaction was to go into Judger. Had a rock or other obstacle broken his plowshare? That could mean losing at least two days’ work while he hauled the broken parts to the blacksmith! Cursing, he began digging around to free the plow. To his surprise, he discovered that it was caught on an iron ring buried six inches under the ground. After freeing his plow, the farmer got curious. He cleared away some of the dirt and pulled on the iron ring. Off came the lid of an ancient chest. He peeked down inside it. Before him, glittering in the sun, lay a treasure of precious jewels and gold.
This story reminds us that it is often by confronting our toughest obstacles that we find our greatest strengths and possibilities, but sometimes we’ve got to dig deep to find them. Campbell had a phrase for it: Where you stumble, there your treasure is.
To uncover that treasure you’d ask yourself questions like: What could I discover? What haven’t I noticed before? What might be valuable here?”
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Lifeby Marilee Adams and Marshall Goldsmith
An aged Chinese monk, despairing at never having reached enlightenment, asks permission to go to an isolated cave to make one final attempt at realization. Taking his robes, his begging bowl, and a few possessions, he heads out on foot into the mountains.
At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Hondorf. I am a former elementary school music teacher from DeMoines, Iowa.
I’ve always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons — something I’ve done for over 30 years. Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability. I’ve never had the pleasure of having a protégé though I have taught some talented students.
However I’ve also had my share of what I call “musically challenged” pupils. One such student was Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother’s dream to hear him play the piano. So I took him as a student.
Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my students to learn.
Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he’d always say, “My mom’s going to hear me play some day.” But it seemed hopeless.
An old man, very rich, was puzzled because he had three sons; the problem was that all three sons were born simultaneously, their age was the same. Otherwise,in the East, the eldest son, inherits. The problem for the old man was who was going to inherit,because all these three were of the same age.
He asked a wise man, ”What should I do? How should I decide who should inherit?” The old wiseman gave him a certain method. The old man went home, he gave one thousand silver pieces toeach son and told them, ”Go to the market, purchase seeds of flowers.”
Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “My God, this is terrible,” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!” Continue reading →