Excerpts from Fighting to Win: Samurai Techniques for Your Work and Life
A wise master and his student were walking through the countryside. The student pointed to a fox chasing a rabbit and said, “Oh, the poor rabbit.”
The master said, “The rabbit will elude the fox.”
The student was surprised. Maybe the old man’s mind wasn’t so sharp anymore. He said, “No, you see, the fox is faster.”
“The rabbit will get away,” repeated the master.
“What makes you think so?”
“Because the fox is running for his dinner, but the rabbit is running for his life.”
The first step is understanding we’re no different than rabbits.
Attention, Attention, Attention
A layman asked a Zen master to write some words containing the greatest wisdom.
The master picked up his brush and wrote, “Attention.”
The layman was disappointed. He said, “I was hoping for something more.”
“More?” the master asked, picking up his brush and writing again— this time, “Attention. Attention.”
“That’s it?” asked the layman.
The master had been expecting that. This time he wrote it three times: “Attention, Attention, Attention.”
Your ability to choose how you will direct your attention–what you will think, how you will feel, and the best thing to do–is your most powerful skill.
The delicate cherry blossom has a very short life. It doesn’t last long in the wind that blows it from the tree. One minute it is there, then it is gone. All we have is a memory of how beautiful it was.
No getting around it: I’m a cherry blossom; you’re a cherry blossom.
The Teacher and the Painter
My friend is a painter. The best teacher she ever had gave her the best advice she ever received. He looked at her as she painted and said, “You’re being too careful. Make bolder strokes.” He went away. She followed his advice. He came back and studied her work. He raised his voice and said, “Bolder.” Later he came back again and said, even louder, “Bolder! What are you afraid of?”
Our lives would change immensely if we said to ourselves most of the time, “Bolder! What are you afraid of?”
© 2014 David J. Rogers
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