Do not be hardened by the pain and cruelty of this world.
Be strong enough to be gentle, to be soft and supple like running water, gracefully bending around sudden turns, lithely waving in strong winds, freely flowing over sharp rocks, all the while quietly sculpting this hard world into ever deeper beauty, gently eroding rigid rock into silken sand, tenderly transforming human cruelty into humankindness.
Remember, true strength is not found in the stone, but in the water that shapes the stone.– L.R. Knost
Leadership, Mission & Commitment
I came across this post by Robert E. Quinn recently & had to share it here for the benefit of all.
In the book Timeless Wisdom: Passages for Meditation from the World’s Saints and Sages is a story about an ancient sculptor in India who carves elephants from stone. A king asks the man for the secret of his great artistry. The sculptor explains that once a large stone is secured, he spends a very long time studying the stone. At first he sees nothing, but the rock. Then, over a long period, he begins to feel something. To notice a vague impression, a scarcely discernible outline. As he continues to ponder, with an open eye and an eager heart, the outline intensifies, until the joyful moment when the sculptor sees the elephant inside the rock. At this moment he sees what no other human can see. Only when he sees the outline does he begin the months of chiseling. He is obedient to the revealed outline. The sculptor connects with the elephant inside the stone. He feels the elephant’s desire to come out of the rock and live. With this emotional awareness the sculptor gains an even more intense singleness of purpose. He chips away every bit of rock that is not the elephant. What remains is the elephant (Eswaran, 2008:20). This parable represents the part of leadership that is least understood. Purpose leads to a search for the possible. What do you think it means?
He further responds with an insightful take on the parable. It is insightful in that it expands on a leader’s commitment to a nebulous vision .. and faith in that vision till something more concrete materialises.
The focus is an important component. And the commitment to that focus. I would take it one step further and say that focus is purpose. Purpose leads to a search for the possible. At the beginning there is little hope. Yet the person of purpose knows to continue in the deep concentration and a vague impression emerges. Masterful leaders know to attend to impressions. Openness and attention turn the impression into a vision available to none other. The visionary becomes the particular future’s only representative in the world. Disciplined pursuit of the vision stimulates action learning and eventually transformation. The vision is no longer a concept but a living thing waiting for mortal manifestation. Love of the emerging future leads to still more disciplined effort until that which could not be seen lives in the present. The parable explains how to create a positive organization.
Robert E. Quinn is a Best-selling author, Speaker, Co-Founder of CPOS at University of Michigan, and Thought Partner on Leadership and Change.
While searching for a quote to go along with this picture, I stumbled upon a poem by Hans Andersen. Sommerfuglen, written in Danish in 1861, goes really well with my picture.
The #Times2Travel theme is about continuing exploration even after the travel. This picture I clicked a few weeks ago has led to multiple discoveries.
This exotic flower is the Crimson Passion Flower, passiflora vitifolia, is a native of South & Central America. I sighted it in Kotagiri though, in South India.
I usually rely on my Facebook & Instagram network to identify flowers & plants I click. It worked like a charm this time too. And I found yet another person who knows her flora. Incidentally, AI & machine learning powered apps failed in identifying this one.
Finally, the discovery of The Butterfly – loving this one & one to mull over for a long time.
Hans Christian Andersen
Here was once a butterfly who wished for a bride, and, as may be supposed, he wanted to choose a very pretty one from among the flowers. He glanced, with a very critical eye, at all the flower-beds, and found that the flowers were seated quietly and demurely on their stalks, just as maidens should sit before they are engaged; but there was a great number of them, and it appeared as if his search would become very wearisome.
The butterfly did not like to take too much trouble, so he flew off on a visit to the daisies. The French call this flower “Marguerite,” and they say that the little daisy can prophesy. Lovers pluck off the leaves, and as they pluck each leaf, they ask a question about their lovers; thus: “Does he or she love me?—Ardently? Distractedly? Very much? A little? Not at all?” and so on. Every one speaks these words in his own language. The butterfly came also to Marguerite to inquire, but he did not pluck off her leaves; he pressed a kiss on each of them, for he thought there was always more to be done by kindness.
“Darling Marguerite daisy,” he said to her, “you are the wisest woman of all the flowers. Pray tell me which of the flowers I shall choose for my wife. Which will be my bride? When I know, I will fly directly to her, and propose.”
But Marguerite did not answer him; she was offended that he should call her a woman when she was only a girl; and there is a great difference. He asked her a second time, and then a third; but she remained dumb, and answered not a word. Then he would wait no longer, but flew away, to commence his wooing at once.
It was in the early spring, when the crocus and the snowdrop were in full bloom. “They are very pretty,” thought the butterfly; “charming little lasses; but they are rather formal.” Then, as the young lads often do, he looked out for the elder girls. He next flew to the anemones; these were rather sour to his taste. The violet, a little too sentimental. The lime-blossoms, too small, and besides, there was such a large family of them. The apple-blossoms, though they looked like roses, bloomed to-day, but might fall off to-morrow, with the first wind that blew; and he thought that a marriage with one of them might last too short a time.
The pea-blossom pleased him most of all; she was white and red, graceful and slender, and belonged to those domestic maidens who have a pretty appearance, and can yet be useful in the kitchen. He was just about to make her an offer, when, close by the maiden, he saw a pod, with a withered flower hanging at the end.
“Who is that?” he asked. “That is my sister,” replied the pea-blossom. “Oh, indeed; and you will be like her some day,” said he; and he flew away directly, for he felt quite shocked. A honeysuckle hung forth from the hedge, in full bloom; but there were so many girls like her, with long faces and sallow complexions. No; he did not like her. But which one did he like?
Spring went by, and summer drew towards its close; autumn came; but he had not decided. The flowers now appeared in their most gorgeous robes, but all in vain; they had not the fresh, fragrant air of youth. For the heart asks for fragrance, even when it is no longer young; and there is very little of that to be found in the dahlias or the dry chrysanthemums; therefore the butterfly turned to the mint on the ground. You know, this plant has no blossom; but it is sweetness all over,—full of fragrance from head to foot, with the scent of a flower in every leaf.
“I will take her,” said the butterfly; and he made her an offer. But the mint stood silent and stiff, as she listened to him. At last she said,—
“Friendship, if you please; nothing more. I am old, and you are old, but we may live for each other just the same; as to marrying—no; don’t let us appear ridiculous at our age.”
And so it happened that the butterfly got no wife at all. He had been too long choosing, which is always a bad plan. And the butterfly became what is called an old bachelor.
It was late in the autumn, with rainy and cloudy weather. The cold wind blew over the bowed backs of the willows, so that they creaked again. It was not the weather for flying about in summer clothes; but fortunately the butterfly was not out in it. He had got a shelter by chance. It was in a room heated by a stove, and as warm as summer. He could exist here, he said, well enough.
“But it is not enough merely to exist,” said he, “I need freedom, sunshine, and a little flower for a companion.”
Then he flew against the window-pane, and was seen and admired by those in the room, who caught him, and stuck him on a pin, in a box of curiosities. They could not do more for him.
“Now I am perched on a stalk, like the flowers,” said the butterfly. “It is not very pleasant, certainly; I should imagine it is something like being married; for here I am stuck fast.” And with this thought he consoled himself a little.
“That seems very poor consolation,” said one of the plants in the room, that grew in a pot. “Ah,” thought the butterfly, “one can’t very well trust these plants in pots; they have too much to do with mankind.”
Big Hairy Audacious Goals
A awesome note to start the day & week from Measure What Matters:
“If companies “don’t continue to innovate, they’re going to die—and I didn’t say iterate, I said innovate.” Conservative goal setting stymies innovation. And innovation is like oxygen: You cannot win without it.”
Conservative goals vs Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
Iterate vs Innovate.
And a hat tip & best wishes to a mate – Narasimha / DNP / Nampy – of mine starting his own gig. Reach out to him, if you or your team believe a coach can help.
Some fun visuals of awesome people going after audacious feats can only help: