Do you ever feel, out of control, off balance, or reactive when you’re trying to get the results you want, but it’s just not happening for you? Often the difference between confusion and clarity is simply to change focus from what you don’t want to what you do want.
What Do You Want
Hey, it’s David, and you’re listening to Leadership Without Losing Your Soul. Your source for practical leadership, inspiration, tools, and strategies you can use to achieve transformational results without sacrificing your humanity or your mind in the process.
Today I want to share a story with you that comes out of Tomorrow Together: Essays of Hope, Healing Humanity, and one that I learned many, many years ago that I think might help you. You know, there’s a fine line between wisdom and knowledge and confusion and clarity, and there’s a story that a mentor of mine told me when I was a child that really brought that home for me.
Miles Kingdom has this great quote I love. He says, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
So the story goes, two boys were walking home after heavy rain. They just received new shoes before they left home. Their mother gave them very strict instructions not to ruin their new shoes in the water and mud. Both boys tried very hard to do what their mother asked, but when they arrived home, one boy’s shoes were muddy and soaking wet while the other boy’s shoes were dry. Naturally, mom questioned her sons. How did they manage to both walk the same route, both take her instructions seriously and yet arrive home with such different results? The brother with the wet shoes answered, I don’t know, mom, I tried to avoid all the puddles. The brother with the dry shoes answered. I looked for dry places and I put my feet there.
I imagine those two boys, one of them jumping back and forth, reacting to every puddle, trying to avoid them, but splashing in the edges despite his best efforts, while his brother calmly ignored the puddles and stepped only on the dry patches of the sidewalk. It’s a story that I have recalled many times in my life. When I am most reactive and out of balance, it’s usually because I’m focused on avoiding what I don’t want, but I haven’t clarified what I do want. Often the difference between confusion and clarity is simply to shift focus from what you don’t want to what you do want. It’s the difference between I don’t want to get my feet wet versus I want to keep my feet dry. Each of those desires creates very different activities. So what is it that you want?