Part 47: The path least travelled (Part 24)
2007-10-11 11:55:05 -

Metro Eireann presents the latest weekly column by the entrepreneur coach and business growth specialist, designed to help you overcome any obstacles and reach your dreams 

Previously: Our three friends and Electra have met Mike, who lives in the woods. Mike has a certain aura about him, and there is a sense of expectancy about what he has to tell them. 

It is interesting to see how Mike points out that the journey of life is like a road with various signposts, and we are not always sure which signposts are accurate.

It is only through diligent pursuit of your desires and making decisions about choosing your path that you can actually discover if the signpost is right. Thus, beliefs – through questioning and action – become knowledge. It is at this point that Nunco has suddenly realised where the signposts for the treasure exist…

Nunco could now see clearly where they were headed and why, if they were ever to get their hands on this treasure, they now desperately needed to search in the right place.

Looking pleadingly at his companions, Nunco intoned: “Do you see it, can you see what I can see?”
“Yeah, sure I can see it!” said Preteritus. “I can see a load of fish just about to get cremated!”
“Oh no!” exclaimed Pros-tremo. “I forgot all about them. Ouch! They’re hot!”
“Are they cooked through?” asked Preteritus. “I don’t want to end up with food poisoning! They may appear burnt on the outside, but like these signposts which you esoteric guys have been talking about, they could be leading us down the garden path!”

“To continue with your wonderful metaphors, Preteritus,” said Nunco. “Maybe the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, what do you reckon? Mike, would you like some as well?”

“I suppose if the 5,000 were able to be fully fed on a few loaves and fishes, and then I guess the five of us will have plenty here!” Mike replied. “Besides, in all my time out here, I have never tried cooked fish and bilberries!”

For the next few minutes, apart from the occasional spitting and spluttering on the numerous fish bones, there was silence as they feasted upon nature’s provisions. The sky was dappled by the autumn clouds as the shadows started to lengthen, with the sun slowly dropping towards the western horizon.

“If it wasn’t for these bones, this fish would be lovely,” observed Preteritus.
“Could you imagine what it might taste like if you didn’t have the bones?” enquired Nunco.
“Gorgeous! I’m starving,” mused Preteritus, his eyes softening as he savoured a piece of fish, its taste augmented by the gentle yet distinctive flavour of the bilberries.

“It’s really quite interesting,” said Nunco. “Because here we witness a prime example of how some people are motivated. Earlier, Preteritus was discussing the pain he might feel from eating raw fish that he believed could poison him. And yet now he is quietly contented by the thought of how tasty his fish would be in the absence of bones – in fact he even forgot about the bones while he savoured the current morsel of succulent fish.”

“So what you focus on, you are actually more inclined to notice,” added Electra. “I suppose it’s a bit like my initial, limited judgement of our friend Mike here. I saw only his appearance and was not prepared to look any deeper, to see the person he really is by just shutting up and listening to what he had to say.”

“Everyone has their story to tell,” said Nunco. “And if we look hard enough we will always find something that interests us.

“When we shut off our own internal dialogue and our need to get our own point across, to prove that we are someone worth listening to, then maybe we can actually start to appreciate both ourselves and the what the other person is about to share with us.

“And maybe now is a good time to hear the rest of Mike’s story, because after all, it could well give us some insights into where we are going.”

“Thanks for your kind words, Nunco,” said Mike. “And again thank you, Electra, for your openness and honesty. As we all learn to accept ourselves for exactly who we are, it is as though we are clearing a path to our own fulfilment.

“It’s like removing the need for rose-tinted glasses to view the world with, because now we can see everything exactly as it is – and as Electra rightly said, by achieving clearer focus on what we really want, it moves into vision in a sharp and distinct fashion magnified in our awareness.

“Have you ever gone shopping, just browsing through the stores not really sure what you are looking for, with just a compulsion for some ‘retail therapy’, something to make you feel good? You make one or two purchases, probably stuff you don’t really want and you know you’ll never use, and then you end up with a sort of unfulfilled feeling inside. You will probably tell anyone who cares to listen that there was absolute rubbish in the shops anyway”

“I am a woman, of course I have!” said Electra, grinning in self-deprecation. “But seriously though, what’s your point?”

“Let me ask you another way,” said Mike, his mind adjusting as he performed some deft mental footwork in an attempt to avoid offence, “and I don’t want to get sexist here, but have you ever known exactly what you wanted and gone out and just bought it and felt great?”

“I did,” said an excited Electra, “and I remember exactly what it was. It was a black pair of soft Italian leather boots. I knew exactly what I was looking for and it was amazing, I found them almost immediately. And what was even stranger about it was the fact that the only place I had actually seen them was in my imagination.

“Oh for goodness sake, yet again I can be so slow at realising things can’t I? Of course, going out shopping for nothing in particular, it’s hardly surprising that I end up buying nothing of any particular use or value. Yet when I go with a focused intent, I am easily able to complete my quest.”

“So what are you guys each looking for?” asked Mike. “What does the treasure that you seek look like exactly?”
“If we knew that, we would not still be looking would we?” responded an exasperated Prostremo.

“That’s being a bit hard on yourself, is it not?” replied Mike. “Because you don’t actually know precisely where to look, do you?”

“Okay, I guess you’re right.” Preteritus was now displaying his sullen, downbeat, dejected look – almost like a puppy dog who has just had a juicy bone whisked away from under his nose.

“It doesn’t matter where you look if you don’t actually know what the treasure is, does it?” asked Nunco. “Because how will we know we have found it if we don’t know what we are looking for?”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Nunco continued: “Here we are, the three of us – and of course Electra, who we have managed to con into joining us on this aimless quest, by having her believe that we actually had a clear purpose, out seeking a treasure that none of us actually have a clue what it is or what it looks like – what are we like really?

“I mean, could you imagine someone going into a job without actually knowing what exactly what he is going to do, or what he will be paid for?”

“Yes, I can,” said Mike. “How many people do you believe actually start out their working careers knowing that come retirement age, rather than being able to live out their golden years, there is a high probability that they will be one of the 85 per cent of people who have barely enough money for the essentials, let alone the luxuries. Do you not believe that when they embark upon that journey, they feel that they actually deserve more than that?”

“Would this be because they don’t actually know how to define their own wants and desires or even goals in a way that they themselves can understand?” asked Nunco, starting to regain his uncharacteristic loss of composure.

“Again, I must caution you about being hard on yourselves!” continued Mike. “You planned for this journey, you set out and you got this far. Surely you must have gained immensely from the experience?”

“Yes, but I am not rich yet, am I?” moaned Preteritus.

“It depends on what you classify as being rich, doesn’t it?” replied Mike. “So when you get where you are going, what each of you could end up seeing could well be….

To be continued next week
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