Philosophy is one of my hidden loves! And, so throughout the years I have sought to study the teachings of the great philosophers and sages. Naturally, one of my must-read and must-study giants of history is Confucius.
And, over the years, I have learned much from his teachings and thoughts: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without!” And when I work with senior civil servants and public sector leaders, I often quote this: “Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs!” And I encourage people in my workshops and seminars: “The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” And these days, as I listen to what’s going on in the political halls of power all across the globe, I am reminded: “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?”
And so, I have the greatest respect for Confucius who lived many thousands of years ago, and whose sayings are as appropriate today (maybe) as they were back in the shrouds of history.
Over the years, however, things have changed – quite a bit! Everything ‘seems’ to be moving much faster. Even kids seem to be growing up so much more quickly (my grand-daughter is proof of this)!
And so last week, when one of the senior executives who I coach (herself a lover of philosophy) quoted one of Confucius’ sayings… it stopped me in my (mental) tracks. And while I didn’t say anything then, I pondered it for days!
I finally concluded that while Confucius might have been right thousands of years ago… his aphorism was wrong in today’s society and for today’s leaders.
He said: “If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”
I think that in today’s world and for today’s leaders we have to reverse this aphorism.
“If you think in terms of a year, teach the people, if in terms of ten years, plant seeds; if in terms of 100 years, plant trees.”
As an Executive Coach and Clinical Psychologist, I see myself as a teacher, trainer and human capacity builder. And in today’s fast moving, technology advancing, developmental climate where speed is everyone’s mantra – we can’t wait for 100 years to teach, train, develop and grow our staff… We must do it now… today… Why? Because in a year everything will have changed. What you taught last month will almost be obsolete in a couple of months.
And so, it’s not only that we should teach them ‘if we think in terms of one year’… Teaching, training, developing and growing them is a constant! It can never stop!
So, “If you think in terms of people, we should teach them, plant seeds in their minds and hearts, and help them to constantly grow, develop and blossom – everyday, every week, every month, every year… continuously.”
According to Confucius “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace!” So let’s practice ‘constant teaching/educating’.
Finally, since I am not the smartest person reading this… Let me know what you think! (“If you are the smartest person in the room… then you are in the wrong room!” Confucius). Please send me your feedback!