A Short Story of
Personal & Organizational
Before I left last week, Myron told me that today’s lesson would both lighten my load as well as expand my horizons which would be welcome information to say the least. Although I have tremendous responsibilities and most of the time I’m under a lot of stress, all-in-all I have a great life. My company is successful, my wife and I have two beautiful, happy children, I have great friends and I have good health. So I have to ask myself, why is my relationship with Myron such a boon to my existence?
Over and above trying to understand these new concepts, I’m fifty years old and although I’ve been extremely fortunate in my life, I’m starting to realize that there is more to life than what I previously believed. I attended a seminar recently and the person leading it had us do an exercise whereby we closed our eyes and pretended we were lying on a hospital bed. The lights were turned down low, we were to pretend we were all alone and had only three minutes to live. We were asked to quickly review our life and the question was then posed, “how do you feel about it?” And you know what? I didn’t feel so hot. In fact, tears welled up in my eyes when I thought about all the things I wanted to do but never got around to it. I thought about all the places I wanted to take my family but was too busy building my business and I thought about the dreams I once had when I was younger which seemed to fall by the wayside as I had gotten older.
My experience at that seminar has made me realize that my meeting Myron was very fortuitous. As I pulled in front of his house, I saw him trimming some bushes which was pretty impressive for a man of his years.
As I approached him he greeted me warmly “Good morning Robert, how are you doing this fine day?”
“I’m doing great, sir. I’m surprised you haven’t hired somebody to do your yard work.”
“Oh hell, I’ve never found anybody that could do the job nearly as well as me. I do all the yard work myself; can’t you see how young it makes me look?” Myron gave me a big smile and let out one of his trademark laughs. I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to ask him something I’ve wanted to know since I met him but felt uncomfortable asking. “Exactly how old are you, Myron?”
He lowered the clippers and looked at me, “How young do you think I am?”
OK, I asked for it. How do I tactfully get myself out of this one? “I’m going to say… seventy.” It came out sounding like a question.
“Humph. Not even close,” he said and went back to trimming the hedge.
“Eighty?” I asked, now certain if I done the right thing.
He lowered the clippers once again and turned to me. “You’re getting warmer. I’m going to be ninety-seven years young next month,” he bowed as he said it.
My mouth dropped open in astonishment and all I could say was, “Wow.”
“What are we jawing out here for? Let’s get some tea and go to work.”
As I sank down into that couch which I’d grown to love, Myron poured me a nice hot cup of our traditional green tea.
“Robert, today we’re going to talk about a couple of things that will definitely lighten the load. As a warrior, you might think that life is all about fighting reality, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, a warrior’s life is easier than most because of their perspective.”
Myron then began searching through the hundreds of books that occupied his bookshelf, floor and desk. “Aha, there it is.” Finding what he was looking for he removed an old-looking leather bound book from one of the shelves.
“Robert this little book is called the Tao Te Ching which was written by Taoist sage by the name of Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC and translated by a brilliant author by the name of Stephen Mitchell. Lao Tzu had never intended to document his wisdom, however, when he was making his way to the mountains to die, he was held captive at the border by the ruler of China until he wrote all of what he knew of life.” He opened the book to a marked section. “His writings contained 81 precepts. In his 2nd precept, Lao Tzu writes,” as he reads aloud:
“When people see some things as beautiful,
Myron began to move closer as he continued speaking, “The point here is that instead of arguing with reality or what is, you can utilize another Universal Law, the Law of Polarity. The Law of Polarity which is discussed by Lau Tzu states that everything in life is like a coin with two sides; a ‘good’ side and a ‘bad’ side and in many instances you don’t know which is which. It’s kind of like the story about the cat chasing a mouse through a field and the mouse runs under a cow who promptly craps on him. The cat looks around, can’t find the mouse so he gives up and goes about his business. A wolf, however, who witnessed the entire incident, strolls over to the cow pie, lifts the mouse out, brushes him off and promptly eats him. The moral of the story is that not everyone who craps on you is your enemy and not everyone who pulls you out of the crap is your friend.”He winked at me, patted me on the shoulder and said, “See you next week, Robert.”
... to be continued
Michael Shenker, Human Performance Technologies’ founder and President, has been involved with the human potential movement for over twenty five years. He has been a business management consultant, an entrepreneur and has been involved in all phases of personal and organizational development. Michael's clientele ranges from individuals interested in personal growth to Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Bell Labs, Intel, Planning Research Corp., Pitney Bowes and Coldwell Banker. In his career, Michael has consulted to over 150 companies on organizational development, marketing, sales and creating profitable work place environments. Michael, his wife Susan, of thirty years, son Troy and daughter Samantha reside in Portland, Oregon.
The concepts and ideas in emPOWERMENT, Creating Company Environments That ROCK, exemplify the services provided by Michael Shenker and his organization. He specializes in working with business leaders in developing company environments that dramatically increase the ROI of human capital - their employees. For a free consultation, Michael Shenker can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Michael Shenker's Creating Company Environments That Rock! in The CEO Refresher Archives