Nine Thoughts To One Word

There was once a Prince in Old Japan. He was acclaimed for his extraordinary knowledge and his capacity to find the personality and character of a man from his looks. His uncle was short tempered. Sovereign Sushun, the Prince’s uncle was the leader of Japan.

Once the Emperor called upon the Prince and said “I’ve heard a lot about your incredible skills. Would you be able to reveal my future by looking at my face?”
The Prince was hesitant to answer yet he could not refuse the King’s demands.
The Prince analysed the Emperor’s face and stated, “Your Majesty’s outward appearance demonstrates that you will be killed.”

Emperor Sushun was stunned. “Would I be able to escape this fate? How do I escape this foretelling?”

“It is hard to avoid”, said the Prince, “you can only be saved if you act with patience, tolerance and self-control henceforth.” Emperor Sushun loyally followed the Prince’s guidance for quite a while. But being short tempered, he managed to do something foolish.

One day, one of the Emperor’s subjects given him a wild boar. Emperor Sushun pulled back his sword and wounded the pig with it, saying, “One of these days, this is what I am going to do to the person I hate.”

The Prince who happened to be around, shouted, “Ah, what a frightful act! Your loftiness will stimulate the hatred of others. These words you have spoken will become the reason for your death.”

The emperor, realising his mistake gave people expensive gifts to keep their mouths shut.

One of the courtiers, be that as it may, told the minister Umako, about the episode.

“The King detests me and needs to slaughter me. It’s me he is discussing!” trusted Umako. With this idea and conviction, he planned with another minister to have the king killed.

This story illustrates how the emperor was unable to control his anger and expressed it without giving a second thought, leading to his downfall. Often times, we dwell too much on our negative thoughts and make them the centre of our lives, letting them control us and our lives. Expressing these negative deliberations and thoughts makes them happen and could bring about negative consequences. Hence, sometimes one must focus on de-cluttering and reassessing their lives.

Had the emperor not stabbed the boar and talked about killing his enemy, he wouldn’t be murdered

Similarly, we are often unable to control our ego and our words and end up offending people. Different intonations and different incantations of the same words can hurt people. A lot of thought and deliberation to our words and actions will go a long way and will only help improve inter-personal relations in the future.

Is the grass greener on the other side

There lived a King who needed to discover what his subjects thought of him. He left the royal residence masking himself as a poor man.

He met an old shoemaker in transit and asked him, “Who do you think has the easiest life in this kingdom?”

“Obviously, it is the ruler” the shoemaker answered.

Hearing this, the King had an idea. He served the old shoemaker a great deal of wine. At the point when the shoemaker was totally flushed, the King took him to the royal residence and made him wear a delightful illustrious robe. The King at this point requested all his ministers and subjects to accept the shoemaker as the King for some time.

When the shoemaker woke up, he ended up on the position of authority. He believed that he had really turned into the King by some enchantment. He was charmed by the riches and extravagances of the castle and thought it was all his to appreciate.

 Now, wasn’t this a bad decision? Letting an inexperienced man handle the kingdom? Wouldn’t he refuse to get off the throne?

However, soon he understood that he had to deal with all the important matters of the state and manage them proficiently. He needed to hear numerous reports and make decisions to run the country. The shoemaker had no clue about how to deal with this and was confounded. He couldn’t appreciate the food of the royal residence. He started getting thinner and looked exhausted gradually.

The King saw this was significantly more than what the poor shoemaker could deal with and felt sorry for him. He got the shoemaker drunk again and got him back to where he was.
A few days after that, the King camouflaged himself as a poor man again and went to meet the shoemaker. The shoemaker yelled in severity, “Recently you gave me such a great amount to drink that I imagined that I had become the King. I had a very hard time trying to deal with the issues of the state and take such a large number of choices. I needed to discuss something with some or the other minister constantly. A King’s life isn’t all that simple.”

Although it wasn’t a smart decision leaving the kingdom in a cobbler’s hands, it did bring about a feeling of realisation and appreciation in the shoemaker. Often times, we find ourselves comparing our lives and designations and other parameters with others. However, everyone has their own struggles. We are all special in our own way. Instead of comparing ourselves, we could look into our own lives and strive to improve ourselves and do better bit by bit, day after day. Comparison leads to malice but betterment leads to more opportunities and growth. The grass will always be greener on the other side but it’s our own side that we can choose to focus on.

Ford: A lesson in leadership

Henry Ford was an American automobile manufacturer who created the Ford Model T car and went on to develop the assembly line mode of production, which revolutionized the industry. He was a revolutionary automobile industry innovator and legend in the American business history. He co-founded Ford Motor Company with the belief that the future of the automobile lay in putting it within the reach of the average American worker.

Henry Ford fulfilled that vision with the model T. By 1914, Ford was delivering almost half of all automobiles in the United States. The Ford Motor Company sounds like a success story but there’s a flipside to it.
The immense success proved that Ford’s model was perfect, believing completely in his idea, Ford never looked ahead.

One day, a group of designers surprised him by presenting him with the prototype of an improved model, Ford furiously ripped its doors off the hinges and proceeded to destroy the car with his bare hands.

After 20 years, Henry Ford finally consented to offer an updated automobile to the general population. The organization created a Model A however it was staggeringly behind its rivals in technical innovations. In spite of the company’s initial head start and lead over its competitors, Ford Motor Company’s offers continued contracting. By 1931, it was down to just 28 percent.

To make sure things were smooth sailing, Henry Ford continuously looked over the shoulders of his people. He even made a department to look into his people’s lives and direct their personal lives. Whenever a promising leader was rising up in his company, Henry tore him down. As a result, the company kept losing its best executives.

This approach is essentially flawed, colleagues and employees can never be monitored. One must have deep trust and belief in them and their potential. How an employee leads their life is not the company’s job or responsibility. Perhaps privacy should be given more importance in companies.
Moreover, leaders should be identified, built up, they should be given resources, authority and responsibility. Leaders must also learn to change with times, as illustrated above, Henry Ford’s refusal to grow with times led to the company’s downfall years later.

President Theodore Roosevelt said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
To lead others well, we must help them reach their potential. This means being on their side, encouraging them, giving them power and helping them succeed

Becoming a True Leader

At times we wonder, “Am I a leader or a boss?”
The answer is simple: we all perceive ourselves to be a leader. No one likes to be a boss who is detested by their subordinates. There’s nothing wrong with assuming we are leaders, provided we work towards attaining the qualities of a true leader.

While reading Mahabharta, we may wonder “What gave Yudhishtra, the right to gamble away his kingdom?” As a leader should you protect your team or trample them as if you own them? When Yudhishtra gambled and lost his kingdom, he was asked to put one of his brothers on stake, he chose the weakest one -Nakula. He didn’t choose Arjuna or Bheem. He let the weakest suffer.

At that time, Yudhishtra was king of a small kingdom, but he did not display the characteristics of a king. He had to endure misery for thirteen years, even Lord Krishna could not help. There are several tales of his lessons in humility and patience during this time.

In one story, the thirsty Pandavas were desperately looking for water. Upon reaching a pond, a heron warned them and said they can only drink water if they answer a few questions. One by one they drank water ignoring the warning, all of them died. Yudhishtra was the only one who lived. When he reached the pond, he paused, answered questions and drank water. He displayed a significant shift in attitude; Earlier, an impulsive person who gambled away his kingdom, he was now ready to pause, think and answer the question. He displayed an important shift in his attitude, he was more patient and prudent.

The Heron rewarded him by allowing him to revive one of the brothers, Yudhishtra asked for the weakest one Nakula. Formerly, he had gambled away Nakula considering him the weakest but now he was protecting the weakest. His father had two wives and he was the surviving son of one and he asked for Nakula to lessen the pain of his step mother, so one son of each mother survives. Thus lessening his step mother’s pain. Yudhistra has now become the protector and understood that he exists to help the helpless. He became a protector and a mentor. His prudence and compassion was rewarded and the heron brought all his brothers back to life.

The story teaches some important aspects of a true leader. He needs to practice patience, become more prudent, not impulsive. Moreover, he needs to have a larger focus on the overall well-being of the team and his organization, he has to become a mentor, protector and help his team.

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