Part 37: The path least travelled (part 15)
2007-08-02 15:02:02 -

 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: At the start of their third day of seeking treasure, our three friends and Electra have woken up to a glorious morning, after the events and storm of the night before.
Nunco, the perpetual storyteller, has been regaling the others with the tale of Adam, a man who had struggled with a lack of clear direction in his life. Apparently highly successful, Adam had laboured under the illusion that being a giver would give him peace and happiness, but this dream had remained elusive. Nunco now continues Adam’s story in relation to how he got closer to living his dream…

“You see,” continued Nunco, “until that point Adam had not even figured out what it was that he was doing wrong. A bit like Preteritus mentioned earlier, he had felt that things were unfair, since he was a perpetual giver.
“As much as we would all love to live in a utopian world, we also must understand that not everyone has reached the level of consciousness whereby they have the ability to detach themselves from the apparent intent of what another person may be saying or doing to them.
“If you get mugged on the street, and have your belongings stolen and at least a bruised ego, if not a bruised body, you must ask yourself if the mugger mugged you because of who you were, or just because of where you were!”
“Does this mean that you need to detach your own personal feelings from what happens and view the event as an impartial observer?” asked Electra
“Exactly,” agreed Nunco, “and that is precisely what Adam did. In fact, it was one of Adam’s best friends who got mugged, and he was with Adam at the time it happened.
“They had been walking near the river, and Adam had stopped to buy something at a shop. His friend had continued on walking, because he had seen a boat moored at the quayside and wanted to take a closer look.
“As Adam came out of the shop, he looked across to the water’s edge, just in time to see his friend lying on the ground, and two thugs running away up the street. Adam rushed over to his friend, who got up to his feet, apparently unhurt physically. He then launched into the most vitriolic torrent of abuse against his attackers – the gist of which was to say how unlucky he was, and how it was as though people seemed to sense his vulnerability.
“It was in that instant that Adam had a flash of insight. He understood with certainty that the two muggers had been complete opportunists and if the roles had been reversed, it would have been him in the indignant state that his friend was currently in.
“Acting completely out of character, Adam slapped his friend hard across the face and asked him if he really thought he was that damned special. Shocked, dazed and bordering on outrage, his friend wanted to know what the heck Adam was talking about.
“Continuing on, Adam asked his friend if he really believed that those two vagabonds had the foresight to think about him and who he was, or whether they were just thinking about what they wanted, and saw him merely as a means to an end.”
“So,” said Electra slowly, furrowing her brow in deep concentration, “because he was not actually involved in the situation, Adam was able to separate himself from the incident. So are you suggesting we need to remove our personal feelings from situations in order to be able to choose how to react?”
“Electra, can you think of a situation where doing that might have helped you recently?” asked Nunco.
“Okay, I am separating myself personally from that remark – wow, that feels weird – I was all ready to get up and be all defensive, but that simple act of deciding not to react personally has already changed my reaction.
“Yes, to answer your question – yesterday my caustic remark in relation to the fox vixen, when you, Nunco, said ‘him’, I allowed my horror at what was happening combined with your innocent remark to spark off all sort of emotions in relation to me being the only woman in the group – oh my God, this is pure rubbish what we do to ourselves, isn’t it?”
“Wow! Pretty fiery person, aren’t you?” asked Prostremo.
“I am not rising to that remark, my dear Pro,” purred Electra. “You see I have separated myself from your childish remark and come to the realisation that it takes a pretty immature guy to try that sort of stunt when we are actually being serious.” 
“That was below the belt now, Electra,” an indignant Prostremo countered “I was only joking, you don’t have to bite my head off!”
“So you haven’t quite got it yet, have you Pro?” she replied.
“Of course I get it, you…” Prostremo stopped mid-sentence, the realisation slowly spreading across his face, “No I didn’t get it, did I?”
“But you do now, and that is all that matters,” said Electra. “We’re all human, you know, even me!”
“So this is how Adam learnt how to handle criticism,” said Preteritus. “But how did he learn to start loving himself to get over his other limiting belief? How did he get access to the other clue that helped him unlock this mystical door inside himself?”
“That’s partly it, Pre,” said Nunco. “It was on another occasion with the same friend who got mugged that this insight came to him.
“Adam’s friend had just gone through some pretty rough times and was feeling rather sorry for himself. He had been advised by someone that he should undertake a rather dodgy investment, and he had put in rather more money than he could afford.
“Now, the friend had really tried to persuade Adam to go in with him, but Adam was the cautious type and wouldn’t do it. Though in fact, at the time Adam felt that he was letting his friend down by not going in with him.”
“I bet he was glad he didn’t do it,” said Preteritus.
“He was,” said Nunco, “but not for the reason you think! You see, when Adam was trying to console his friend over his loss, his friend told him that the only good thing about the whole fiasco was that Adam had not listened and lost his money as well. At that point, the two of them suddenly stopped and looked at each other and burst out laughing.”
“I don’t see what there was to laugh about,” said Preteritus. “Didn’t Adam’s friend lose nearly all his money?”
“Absolutely true, he did indeed lose a lot of money, in fact it was more than he actually had, because he had borrowed money to put into the so-called investment,” said Nunco. “So not only had he not made any money, he had lost all of his savings and he was now in debt.
“But yes, he was laughing, because at that moment both he and Adam had realised that by Adam looking after his own best interests and not trying to save his friend, not only had he saved a lot of money, he had also saved a friendship. I mean, how would his friend have felt if, in addition to losing all his money, he had also bankrupted Adam?
“For the first time, Adam realised that by looking after number one, you will actually garner far more respect from those who truly matter to you. Now don’t get me wrong here, I don’t mean becoming self-serving or selfish.”
“Just stop, take stock and think before you act!” exclaimed Electra, finishing his thoughts for him. “It is really amazing how little respect people actually treat themselves with. I suppose in addition to charity beginning at home, so should respect and actions which lead to greater self-esteem, and which will leave you in a much stronger position to help others – I mean, if that’s the sort of thing that rocks your boat.”
“Normally we only learn from doing,” added Nunco, “and that is precisely what happened to Adam – all those years of searching for the answer and interestingly, like his friend, he was just looking in the wrong place!”
“So did you know who Adam’s friend was?” asked Preteritus.
“I did indeed,” replied Nunco. “I knew him extremely well, in fact…”

To be continued next week
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