In this time of increased bloglessness in the past few months, I’ve been working. A lot. I’ve been growing. A lot. But most of all, I’m learning. Bunches of A lot. Particularly right now in work, and about fear.
Work has taught, and reminded me a lot about people, leadership, and development. All people always have life issues. And those issues bleed into the workplace. Intentionally, unintentionally, manipulatively… for whatever reason, they do. Some people, like me, try to hang their problems/struggles at the door, in order to be “professional”. I’ve found this results in masking yourself from others, or internalizing to a point where it occasionally comes out in less than desirable way. Other people just let it out all over the place. Like a broken water main, by the end of the day, everyone is soaked in it and nobody is happy. Both of these approaches result in relationships which are flawed. Tactful genuinity is perhaps the best, albeit most vulnerable, approach. Which is why many don’t use it- struggles are a sensitive thing, and if you don’t trust those around, you won’t share them… or share so much simply for the purpose of venting.
You know, I don’t consider myself to be a fearful person. I’m not afraid of rejection, I’m not afraid to fail at what I do… I am afraid of spiders- but that’s justified. One thing I’ve learned though, is there is one thing I still do fear. That is, the feeling of not having control. I’m terrified of unknowns- not because I don’t know what comes next, but because I can’t control what I don’t understand. This is incredibly ironic, because control is already an illusion in this work. There is a beautiful piece of dialogue in a move- Kung-fu-Panda. There is a wise old turtle, Oogway, and a red panda, Shifu. The dialogue goes like this….
Ooogway: “My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control. The essence of this seed is to become a peach tree. Within this bumpy, hard-shelled pit is the potential for this entire tree, with its flower blossoms and branches filled with ripe fruit. I can plant the seed in the ground, cover it with soil, and nurture it with water and sunlight. But I cannot make the tree blossom when it suits me nor make it bear fruit before its time.”
Shifu: “But there are things we can control: I can control when the fruit will fall, I can control where to plant the seed: that is no illusion, Master!”
Oogway replies, “Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will only get a peach.”
There is so much about life which we think we control, and granted to a point, we do. We can choose to sit at home for the rest of our life, pursue a career, etc. These things are so small compared to what we ultimately don’t control. That was the point of that scene, and something which I think is wise to keep in mind.
If we want a peach tree, for example, then yes- we can plant, care, and tend to it. However, there is nothing we can do at all to change what that seed was purposed to do. That’s perhaps the most powerful lesson I’ve been learning, or trying to learn anyway. The fact that while I may be doing things I think, or try to control, it is so much more fulfilling and stressless to acknowledge that God ultimately is.
So, the question comes to you now, I would love to know… What are you learning?