Keep conceit and cynicism at bay
Physical strength is important, but don’t let arrogance slow you down
‘Nothing succeeds like success.’
‘Winner takes it all.’
‘Success needs no explanation, failure has none.’
These are just some proverbs that drive most of us towards achieving success in our profession. Often, success without a mature mind leads to arrogance.
It is important that we are sensitive and prevent ourselves from becoming conceited. Here are two stories that will help you gain insight into dealing with success the right way.
Once there was a Samurai who had become arrogant because of his martial skills. During one of his travels, he came across a tea master who was respected for his high level of mastery in the art of serving tea. The rogue Samurai started ridiculing the tea master and challenged him to a duel.
The tea master ignored the Samurai, but after being pestered for a while, accepted the challenge. He asked the Samurai for half an hour to prepare. He wanted to learn to hold the sword correctly and dress appropriately for the occasion. The rogue Samurai agreed.
At the appointed time, the tea master appeared at the location. The Samurai was waiting anxiously. The two took their stance. Looking into the eyes of the tea master, the rogue Samurai grunted, “You will see no pity in my eyes when I slice you in two.”
The tea master replied, “When you are slicing me in two, you will see no fear in my eyes.”
The rogue Samurai realised how wrong he was, bowed to the tea master and walked away. In Japan there is a saying, ‘those who say nothing leave nothing unsaid’.
The other story is about a monk and a Samurai.
The monk sat by the roadside with his eyes closed, in deep meditation. He was interrupted by a rogue Samurai who yelled, “Hey you, tell me the difference between heaven and hell.”
The monk gradually opened his eyes and responded, “You can’t understand the difference between heaven and hell. Stop wasting my time and move on.”
The Samurai burst into an angry grunt and raised his sword to strike the monk. Just then the monk uttered, “What you are feeling right now my dear is hell.”
On hearing the monk, the Samurai realised his folly, put his sword back, and bowed in apology. To which the monk said, “My dear friend, what you are feeling now is heaven.”
Samurais in Japan trained hard at sword fighting. But proficiency in martial arts, without training one’s mind, often turned Samurais into rogues, creating a menace to the very people they were meant to serve.
People who succeed need to ensure that they steer clear of conceit and remain committed. Those who fail need to ensure that they steer clear of cynicism and remain committed.
Life will be punctuated with ups and downs. To ensure that we are living right, we need to ensure that our mental compass is in the commitment zone and not in the cynicism or conceit zone. Stay committed.