Not What You Want to Hear

Buddhist Monk by =rubberman542 via deviantART

One day, a man stopped a monk in the market. The man wanted to ask the monk for advice.

“Holy One, could you spare a moment? I need to ask you a question,” said the man.

The monk smiled and replied, “Surely, although I must say that I might not have the answer that you are looking for.”

“It’s worth a try,” said the man. “I have a problem. The ministers at the palace did not accept me as a tax collector. They said that I had the smarts, but I didn’t have enough experience. What should I do? I want that job desperately!”

Without changing his expression, the monk tilted his head and said, “Celebrate! Take your family out to dinner. Toast to it.”

“I don’t understand. How can you say that when I got rejected for the job?” asked the man.

The monk seemed to have heard a joke. He giggled a bit, and said, “Let me tell you a story. When I was your age, I also had the same experience. I tried to become a soldier, but the general said that I didn’t have the right constitution for it. Because of that, I went to my grandfather where I got the same advice.”

“What does that have to do with my situation? You’re now a monk, not a soldier,” pointed out the man.

The monk leaned over to the man and answered with a question, “Would you have gotten an answer from me if I became a general?”

The man’s face lit up. He was a smart man after all, and he realized the precious lesson that the monk taught him that day.

This story is inspired by a blog post that I’ve read from Evan Sanders, author of The Better Man Project. You can read his  blog post here.


4 thoughts on “Not What You Want to Hear

    1. Chad the Velociraptor Post author

      Hi Craig! Good question. My poetry professor will kill me for explaining this story (he thinks that the reader’s interpretation of any composition is valid as long as the composition supports the meaning), but I’m a push-over, so here’s my version of the lesson (which is based on Evan’s post). Evan wrote:

      As always, I make the connection between the gym and life…and I want to share an interesting conversation I had with one of my friends last night over a beer just hanging on our front porch. I told him…”You know, if you never try to tell her you like her, you will never get a yes or a no. Getting a no sometimes is winning, because you can then refocus your time onto someone who wanted to actually buy your brand in the first place. We are often paralyzed by fear so much that we fail to recognize that someone saying no to us is one of the best things that can happen. Then, you are powerful. Without action, you are powerless.” He nodded…and said…” I guess I never really thought of it like that.”

      That’s what I intended to present, and I want to hear what you thought of it. What lesson came across to you? That could be worth sharing, too. 😀


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