An old and damaged violin is put up for auction. The auctioneer presents it to the public and announces: “how much for this?”
“One dollar, one dollar,
Two dollars there, two dollars…
Who can top that? Three dollars…
Three dollars, going once, going twice…
Who’ll have it for three dollars!
But just then a grey-haired old man came up, took the violin, dusted it off and tightened the strings. He began playing a gentle melody that clearly moved the audience.
The music gave way to silence and the auctioneer started up the bidding again:
“How much now?
A thousand dollars. Who can top that?
Two thousand, two thousand dollars.
Three thousand over here.
Three thousand, going once, three thousand, going twice. Sold!”
Applause rang out around the room but some people were wondering: “What exactly happened there? How could the value of the violin have changed so much?” At that point, someone shouted out: “It’s the master’s touch!”
A lot of people are damaged, out of tune, disfigured and play the wrong notes. Others judge them, they feel lost, they feel worthless in their own and others’ eyes until the master touches them. Who can you touch?
Back home, I find a box of printed name place cards for my seminars waiting for me. The design is great and the printer has done a fantastic job that exceeds my expectations.
I take a photo of them for my husband who is on a business trip abroad. He emails straight back agreeing that they’re great.
While I’m at it, I think it would also be a good idea to post the photo on Facebook along with a link to the design agency. But I can’t find their Facebook page anywhere. Darn!
I send a message to my contact, who is also a friend, telling her that I can’t find her agency on Facebook. She replies “you can’t have been looking that hard!” Okay, she stuck a smiley on but suddenly I really don’t feel like posting the link to her agency on my wall anymore!!!
My friend can’t have known I was going to do some advertising for her. Perhaps I should just choose not to get upset about it and advertise her company in spite of her little joke. The result? 1) I’m not upset and 2) she feels bad for winding me up…oops!
How many times have you been annoyed, or even upset, by a joke? What if you stayed above it all and let the “oops” factor work its magic on the other party?
In China, there lived a wise old man who was highly respected because he had an answer for every problem that was presented to him.
One day, a smart aleck came up to him with the firm intention of playing a trick on him.
He stood in front of the old man with his hands behind his back and said: “I have a dove in my hands. Tell me if it is dead or alive.” His plan was to wring the dove’s neck if the old man told him it was alive and let it live if the old man told him that it was dead.
The old man looked at him for a long time and then replied: “The answer is in your hands!”
Many people turn to fortune tellers and other dodgy websites. But really the only person who can play the cards you hold in life is you.
So what are you going to do with the cards you have in your hand?
I often find myself dealing with delegates who are hyper-specialised, super-gifted and overqualified. The crème de la crème in the space industry or some other sector. I sometimes feel really small when I compare my achievements with their PhD (or two), numerous masters and other honorary titles.
A very good male friend of mine biblically reassured me that “if you have a lot of talents, your job is to use them!” The servant who had 5 talents to nurture gained 10. He who had two doubled his stake. But the servant with one talent wasted his stake by burying instead of nurturing it. (The parabable of the talents, Matthew 25)
We play with the cards that we’ve been given. If I’m given the gift of 5 talents, it’s a waste to do nothing with them. In other words, all my overqualified friends are playing with an original stake that’s different from mine. I use mine as best as I can. They do the same with theirs.
What about you? Are you doing the best you can every day with your talents, your original stake?
“Draw the target around your arrow!” An idea for slackers, I reckoned. Plant my arrow first and then say that I’ve hit the bullseye!
The person who wrote this piece of advice used this particular imagery to discuss our talents, aspirations and wishes. How many people can say that their job matches their talents, ambitions and abilities?
Walt Disney was famous for recruiting talented people without having any particular job available. He believed in the principle that it was better to recruit a talented person before the competition did. Then he would create the job around the person.
Fifteen years ago, I returned to work after parental leave. I planted my arrow: working hours that fitted in with school times, no team to manage, working independently. My boss had no problem drawing the target around my arrow. Result: an extremely motivated staff member who continually exceeded her goals.
What target should you draw around your arrow so that you can flourish in your job?