Looking Within

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. “Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. “You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”

When we embark on a journey of development and learn new skills, concepts & theories to better ourselves, it is important that we look within ourselves too. As said by the great poet Rumi, the universe is not outside of us. Everything that we want we already are. Looking within, requires willingness to face ones deepest fears, courage to go beyond ones comfort zone, try something new and explore ones promise, all of which may be daunting but helps unlock ones potential and infinite possibilities both as individuals and as coaches.

Travelling is one metaphor that comes to mind when I think of expanding my horizons. I enjoy travelling and the insights that come with it. As I travel across boundaries, my own boundaries are tested both literally and figuratively. I emerge more open, less judgemental and more humble. I learn how many more perspectives there can be and how many more options we have as humans. It makes me aware of immense possibilities both within and without and as aptly put by George Bernard Shaw, I dream things that never were and ask ‘Why not?’

(published in APAC Voice, July 2016)