The story is about two chaps who happen to meet. They were very good friends. One of them was highly successful, he was very upbeat, his business was going well, he looked marvelous and everything was just great. The other poor fellow was demoralized, he was down in the dumps, nothing was going well so he said to him “Michael, what in the world are you doing. You look great. Obviously your business is going well, you have a magnificent attitude. What is it all about? He said “I went to see the guru.” He said “Are you serious?”. He said “Yes, I went to see the guru.” He said “Well, where is the guru?” and he said “The guru is way up in the mountains in Tibet.” He said “Holy Mackerel, you went all the way there.?”. He said “yes, I did.”. “Well what did he tell you.”
He said “he gave me three words that have totally changed my life.”. “Well, for Pete’s sake, Michael. Tell me what the three words are.” Michael said “it doesn’t work that way.”. “What do you mean?” “Well,” he said, “You’re going to have to get some transportation and go up to see the guru yourself. But I can tell you this, it’ll change your life and it’s well worth going to do it.”
Well, out of sheer desperation, the despondent friend said he’d do it. He got on an airplane, he got on a boat, he got on a bus, he got on a truck, and he got on a mule. He went way up into the mountains of Tibet and he was met by a monk. And the monk said “I’m going to take you into meet the guru.
You have to promise to be totally quiet and silent and I will let you know what you should do next.” He ushered him into the temple and sure enough there was the guru sitting there surrounded by beautiful flowers. Total serenity. He sat there quietly in front of the guru for what seemed to be long, endless moments and finally the guru said “Humility”.
So our friend sat there and finally he felt a little tap on his shoulder. There was a monk who asked him to come outside. He went outside and he said “Thank you so much for coming.” He said “Wait a minute. Is that it.” “Yes”. “But all he said was ‘humility’. What am I supposed to do?” He said, “you should take that word and contemplate and think about it.” So off he went back home on this very long trip and of course, he started to think about humility and he thought to himself “well, humility means that you have to be humble and that you have to be meek”.
He started to think for long hours about this and he learned that being meek didn’t mean being weak and being humble didn’t mean that everyone stepped on you or anything like that. As he delved into the meaning of the word, he recognized that humility and being humble had to do with being more gracious, being more receptive, being more kind, being more patient, being more open-minded, being more loving, being more considerate of others and has he learned about some of the ramifications of that word, his character truly began to go through some metamorphosis.
Then on top of it, he learned that humility meant putting your pride aside. It mean getting rid of your ego. It meant putting your self will aside and being, if you will, more interested in the divine will. He was so excited because he began to feel the deep significance of that word “humility” and he could feel it start invigorating his life.
As a matter of fact, several very exciting things began to happen. One of them was, people started coming to him. He seemed to be attracting people to him. There seemed to be a more harmonious relationship with others because of this metamorphosis and his whole approach as he was making this quality of humility part of himself and a very exciting thing happened at school.
Mrs. Murphy came to see him and she said in a very angry voice “my son Eric is very upset. He’s ten years old. He’s been coming for six months. He does not want to come anymore and I want to cancel my contract.” Now, normally, our friend would be on his high horse. He would say “well, I don’t understand that. We give very good classes here and frankly, your son is a little bit spoiled and as a matter of fact, you can’t cancel your contract anyway.” But he didn’t do that. You know what he did? He said “Mrs. Murphy. First of all, I want to thank you sincerely for coming to see me about Eric. You know, we’re both very fond of Eric. I’m very fond of Eric. He’s a terrific guy. Obviously we have let him down somewhere along the line and Mrs. Murphy, I want you to do me a very special favor. Would you allow me to take Eric in several private lessons and let me work with him. Will you let me do that? I’d be deeply grateful if you did.”
Well, Mrs. Murphy recognized this grace, recognized this humility, this kindness and so on and she said “Fine.”. Well, my friend took Eric in for several lessons, he worked with him very kindly, very warmly, very hospitably. He began to work with Eric in building his self-confidence up and his self-awareness.
He made Eric aware of the fact that he, as the instructor, was genuinely interested in the progress of this child. He became a true friend and needless to say, Eric again began to get excited about his Martial Arts instruction because of this wonderful, personal, deep-seeded genuine attention.
The mother called my friend up a couple of weeks later and she said “Listen, I don’t know what you’ve said to Eric. I don’t know what you’ve done. All I can tell you he is the most amazing little boy and he is the sweetest guy. Tonight he offered to help do the dishes and right now he’s upstairs studying.
His teacher called me and she said he is doing beautifully and needless to say, I want Eric to continue doing what he’s doing.” Well, my friend was elated. He said “I just couldn’t believe my eyes on what’s happening to me” and he said “you know what? I think it’s time for me to go back and find out what the second word is.”
So he got on a plane and he got on a ship and he got on a bus and he got on a truck and he got on a mule, went right back into the mountains and the monk met him again and he said “Don’t forget. You are very quiet when you meet the guru.” And in they went and he sat down in front of the guru. He sat there very quietly with great anticipation and finally the guru said “gratitude”. Well, my friend knew at this point that it was all he needed to hear and here again was his assignment, his study.
To take the word “gratitude” and determine what it meant to him so out he went back home and in that long trip and for the weeks that followed, he studied and studied and thought and contemplated about “gratitude”. Well, that wasn’t so hard. Gratitude means appreciation and it means saying “thanks” and he thought to himself though, it’s got to be something deeper than that. I mean, these seem sort of surface things, a little bit superfluous. It’s got to be more than that and he looked up “gratitude” and he thought about “gratitude” and as he did, he began to realize that what it meant was giving deep thanks.
Not only expressing your appreciation, but doing something about it. He began to recognize that he has to stop and smell the flowers. For a while there, he felt what do I have to express gratitude about. My business wasn’t going too well, I’ve been having hard times with finances and it’s one thing or the other. He said “wait a minute. I have a lot to express my gratitude for. First of all, I’ve got my health. Secondly, I have a wonderful home life.
Thirdly, I’m in a business that I deeply love. And then as a matter of fact, I know I’m something I’m totally grateful about and that is that I have all these students who come to see me and put themselves into my hands for direction and instruction and an education in the martial arts. Not only that, guess what else? I’ve got several terrific staff members who have been very loyal to me and very supportive and I have been sometimes breaking at these guys for being late and not being enthusiastic enough but you know what? I am deeply grateful for these people, for they’ve been very, very loyal and more than just friends.
They’ve been helping me in my school and for Pete’s sake, I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to start expressing this gratitude because gratitude unexpressed is zero. Love unexpressed is zero. It has to be expressed. It has to have a recipient and so one of the first things he did was very interesting.
He got a staff member with whom he had not been getting along with too well. He thought about this chap and he said to him. I wanted to tell you something. I want to express my gratitude for you for being a staff member and being as loyal as you’ve been to me and being a real good representative of the martial arts. The staff member said “Wait a minute. Last week you just chewed my butt. You were griping at me for being late and you thought I should have more enthusiasm.” He said “I know I did that, but I have to apologize for that. I got knocked off balance. Yeah, you were late a couple of times and who knows, maybe your enthusiasm can pick up but your virtues and my association with you and your contribution to the school have been so overwhelming on the positive side it far exceeds your being late a couple of times.
So I want you to know that I’m very grateful to have you on my staff. I appreciate the good work you do.” Well, can I tell you something? Not only was this fellow never late again, not only did his enthusiasm pick up and so on, but he was so anxious to please in any way he could. He deeply appreciated this expression of gratitude. The whole staff began to respond. Every student, he began to talk to, every parent. There was an aura of gratitude, of appreciation, of wanting to service.
Remember that wonderful expression “he who leads must serve”. And he began to feel that and he began to express it. That was the important thing. He began to express it. And then the real important thing about gratitude that grew up in his thinking was that instead of doting on the problems, instead of thinking about the shortcomings of some of the people, instead of griping about some of the grasping things that the students wanted or one thing or the other, he began to think instead about the wonderful, the positive side of the ledger. He began to recognize that he had so much to be grateful about that the other stuff just seemed like nothing. Well, needless to say, I don’t need to tell you, you know it’s coming.
This new found humility, which means that kindness and that receptivity with getting the ego out of the way. His desire and learning to express gratitude, to generally do it by actions, some startling things began to happen. His whole life began to open up. His business began to improve, his staff members were coming on board. Everything positive was happening. He said “This is marvelous. I got to go back and see the guru and find out what the third word is.”
So he got on the plane, he got on the ship and he got on the bus and he got on the mule and went way up into the temple in the mountains to see the guru. He sat there with great anticipation and incidentally with great humility and incidentally with deep gratitude with what he had received so far and he sat quietly waiting and listening. The guru said “How do you feel”. He said “I feel wonderful.” The guru said “what else?”. He said, “well I feel very happy.” And he said, “what else?”. He said, “I feel positive and I feel progress.”. He said, “what else?”. He said “I feel joy” and the guru said “that’s it. You have at last arrived. If you deeply and continuously feel joy, you now have the essence of life and you must express that joy and you must go forward in demonstrating your humility and your gratitude and always be joyous. Be a force of joy. Express that in your business. Express that in your personal life and most of all, express it with your personnel who love working with you and look forward to your support.”
Now everyone, please forgive me if I got a little heavy there but I got to tell you, in the many years that I’ve watched successful people work with their personnel, these are the qualities that I spotted. Each and every one of the successful persons that gathered a terrific staff and had a great business as a result. These are the qualities that I saw in these very successful people, I thought to myself, “ I don’t know if these people have been to see the guru or not but I could tell you one thing. They sure have got what it takes.