REMEMBER RULE NUMBER 6

Two Prime ministers were sitting in a room discussing affairs of state.  Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and baning his fist on the desk.  The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying.  Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.”  Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague:  “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this.  Would you be willing to share with me the secret of this Rule Number 6?” 

“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister.  “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.’”

“Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.”

After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Source: Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Stone Zander,
The Art of Possibility
(Penguin Books; revised edition, 2002) page 79

CONSIDER THIS

As we encounter stress and anxiety, fear and worry, let’s call to mind rule #6! When it shows up, pay attention to the negative, deconstructive inner dialogue and intentionally stop it in its tracks. Remember:

  • “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”  -Oscar Wilde
  • “Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.” -G. K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy“The Eternal Revolution”)
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LOVING WHOLEHEARTEDLY

An eager young man longing to live a good life, went to his rabbi and said, “I know that the Hebrew Scriptures say that we ought to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. But I am very much aware that my heart and soul and mind and strength have bad parts in them. So, tell me, how can I love God?”

After a pause the rabbi replied, “Well, it seems that you’re going to have to learn how to love God with the bad parts too.”

Source: Unknown

CONSIDER THIS

“The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest, but wholeheartedness.” David Steindl-Rast in response to a question by poet David Whyte.

“In fiction good people do good things and bad people do bad: that’s why it is called fiction!” (Oscar Wilde) In real life bad people can do good things and good people can do bad things.

WHY WEREN’T YOU ZUSIA?

Once, the great Hassidic leader, Zusia, came to his followers. His eyes were red with tears, and his face was pale with fear.

“Zusia, what’s the matter? You look frightened!”

“The other day, I had a vision. In it, I learned the question that the angels will one day ask me about my life.”

The followers were puzzled. “Zusia, you are pious. You are scholarly and humble. You have helped so many of us. What question about your life could be so terrifying that you would be frightened to answer it?”

Zusia turned his gaze to heaven. “I have learned that the angels will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you a Moses, leading your people out of slavery?'”

His followers persisted. “So, what will they ask you?”

“And I have learned,” Zusia sighed, “that the angels will not ask me, ‘Why weren’t you a Joshua, leading your people into the promised land?'”

One of his followers approached Zusia and placed his hands on Zusia’s shoulders. Looking him in the eyes, the follower demanded, “But what will they ask you?”

“They will say to me, ‘Zusia, there was only one thing that no power of heaven or earth could have prevented you from becoming.’ They will say, ‘Zusia, why weren’t you Zusia?'”

Source | Doug Lipman, The Storytelling Coach: How to Listen, Praise, and Bring Out People’s Best. (August House, 2006)

CONSIDER THIS

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”Oscar Wilde

We live in a world that has a very strong opinion what we “should” be.  We ”should” be young, thin, beautiful, rich, successful.  We “should” have the right stuff — like the right kind of house and the right kind of car.  And we “should” act like those around us that look the right way and have the right stuff. Where in all of that is authenticity?

Sometimes, without realizing it, we give up ourselves.  We slowly fall prey to the bombardment of the pop culture messages that constantly surround us.