“Good morning Myron, how’s it going today?” I said as I approached his front porch. Myron sat on an antique rocker, smiling back at me.
“Robert, it’s always going the same. In fact, that reminds me of a story my grandfather used to tell me when I was a young boy. Several thousand years ago in Lebanon, there lived a wise man by the name of Useff who, throughout his life was always happy. It didn’t matter if he had enough to eat, sufficient clothes to keep him warm or even a place to sleep, he was happy. People in the town would always ask him why he was always so happy but he would never tell them. On the last day of his life with just minutes to live, one of his oldest and dearest friends knelt down beside his bed and whispered in his ear, ‘Useff, before you leave this earth you must share with me your secret of how you have remained so happy all these years.’ With a smile, Useff looked up at his friend and told him that each day when he would awaken, God would ask him, ‘Useff, today you can be happy or you can be sad, which will it be?’ And very calmly, Useff told his friend that he always chose to be happy.”
“That’s a great story. I guess, all in all it’s really as simple as that,” I admitted.
Myron looked inquisitively at me and asked, “So Robert, how are you doing today?”
“Myron, I’m here with you on this beautiful, sunny Saturday, how else could I possibly be but excellent?”
“On that note,” and a slight chuckle Myron replied, “Then let’s go to work.”
He then rose smoothly from the chair and ushered me into the house. “Today I would like to discuss a critical step in our work which is the process of empowering others.”
I took my traditional place on the sofa as Myron poured us both a cup of tea. He then walked to his book case and began searching the stacks as he had done so many times before. As I watched him, I was overcome by a feeling of gratefulness for having the opportunity to study with such a learned man. Myron, with all of his foibles truly set a great example of how to live a quality life. Finally, with an old leather bound book in hand he sat back down and removed a weathered-looking sheet of paper. “I do not know the author of this marvelous document.
When I purchased this first edition years ago,
it was folded between the pages. I have tried many times to identify the author but to no avail. As it is too frail to carry around, I would like you to copy it down in your notebook. This will be a good way for you to acquaint yourself with the Thirty Six Steps to Empowerment. Then, pass it on to every person you value with the instruction of reading it every day for a minimum of thirty six days—or ideally longer should they so desire. On day one of
their first reading have them write down how they rate themselves on a scale from one to five with one being the lowest and five the highest, on their observance of each of the thirty concepts. Then, add up the numbers and that will be their base-level score. Once completed, have them put their ratings away in a safe place. Then, on day thirty six they rate themselves again. Once they have totaled their score, have them subtract their score from day one from their new score on day thirty six and the difference will show them how much progress they have made. Of course, I would highly recommend that you be the first to do this.”
He then carefully handed the sheet of paper to me as I began to read the neatly handwritten text.
Thirty Six Steps to Empowerment
After carefully compiling my score I looked at Myron feeling humbled and excited at the same time, “Wow, that’s quite a process. I can see how working on these concepts each day could have a major impact on myself, my family and my company. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I scored less than 40 out of a possible 180 points.”
“I think you’re starting to see the vast untapped resources and potential you have hiding in plain sight. I’m reminded of a story of a beggar in ancient China who sat on a great chest outside the gates of his village. Anyone who entered or left the village was approached by the beggar for food, clothing or some form of sustenance. One day a very wise man came to his village and was approached by the beggar for something to eat. The wise man asked him how long he had been begging. The beggar replied that both his father and his grandfather before him had sat on this very same chest. The wise man then asked if he’d ever opened the chest that he, his father and his grandfather had been sitting on for all these generations and the beggar said ‘of course not, it was just a place for them to rest.’ The wise man then said that nothing should ever be taken for granted and bid the beggar good bye without offering him a single crust of bread. Although the beggar was disgruntled at his lack of compassion, he became unsettled with the wise man’s comments. All these years he had never considered looking inside the chest, so he opened it up and low and behold he found that it was full of gold.” A smile warmed his features as he put down his teacup and continued.
“This story is similar to many of your contemporaries. Some will continue to run their companies with the idea that profits can only be made from external means and never consider the vast treasure they have in their employees and some, like you, will have the presence of mind to open the chest and find the gold.”
Myron rose from his chair and said, “In the meantime Robert, let’s call it a day and go out and enjoy the sunshine.”
As I was heading for my car I realized that it wasn’t going to be easy but I knew I was about to open the chest and find the gold.