Once upon a time in a land not so far away lived a monster called “Competition”. ALL the people in the kingdom feared Competition. Especially, all the King’s jewelers, stone masons and artists and lived in daily fear of competition. They were afraid Competition would drive them out of business. They feared having to go to work in the fields and not being able to do their craft. Competition was kept chained up and locked away.
All the artisans were afraid to share their talents and skills with their fellow craftsmen. So they worked in secrecy everyday hiding their techniques and methods of producing their artistic crafts. They were successful in keeping their secrets and everything remained the same.
One day the King asked them, “Why is everything you make the same? Nothing is new, nothing is different.”
They looked at one another and scratched their heads. They had no answer for the King. They were using the same methods and techniques that they had always used. They took PRIDE in their work. Their work and how they did it was a secret known only to their particular guild of craftsmen or to them personally.
They didn’t know why nothing changed.
The King called on his wise old Sage. “Tell me old wise one, what shall we do to bring about change in the arts?” The Sage rose and approached the King. The old Sage smiled as he whispered in the King’s ear. “Release Competition and let it run free.”
“But the artisans fear Competition,” the King said, as he now scratched his head. The wise one turned as he walked away and said one word. “Exactly.”
The King then saw the wisdom in the old man’s thinking. The King decreed that the thing that the artisans feared the most, “Competition,” shall be released and allowed to roam the kingdom.
All the artisans in the land ran back and forth not knowing what to do, “Competition” had been released. Some put their tools up and prepared to go to work in the fields. Others stood and scratched their heads. (This was a head scratching kingdom) Others gathered together with their crafts to discuss what they should do. This was the first time they had all been together. They walked about and looked at one another’s work.
Now, there was an enormous amount of head-scratching going on. So much so that it aroused the attention of the wise old Sage. The Sage entered the great hall where all the remaining artisans had gathered. He stood among them smiling (Sages do that alot).
The arrival of the wise old Sage had an effect on the artisans, for they respected his wisdom and knowledge above all else. The Sage raised his hand and the room went quiet. The Sage spoke in an even and low voice, ” Growing old is mandatory, Growing wise is an option.”
Now the head-scratching began again with more vigor than ever before. They had no idea what the Sage meant by his words. As the head-scratching continued the Sage quietly left the great hall (yes, smiling).
“Help me scratch my head,” said the jeweler to the stone mason. “Help me scratch my head,” said the stone mason to the painter. Yup, you guessed it. Before long they were scratching one another’s heads. They began helping one another scratch their heads. This was something new, helping one another.
As the stone mason scratched the head of the jeweler (looking at the jeweler’s beautiful jewelry), he said, ” You know if you will split that stone this way you will find a beautiful crystal inside of it.”
And then the jeweler said to the stone mason (looking at his beautiful statues), “If you will hammer out silver this way, then you can use it on your statues.”
The painter not wanting to be left out chimed in, “and if you will crush this stone and mix it with oil you will have a beautiful blue color to paint your statues with”.
They continued scratching their heads and sharing their talents and skills with one another. They no longer feared “Competition.” Soon they ALL had new ideas on how to do their crafts differently and make them more beautiful. All of a sudden they stopped scratching their heads (temporarily). They were sharing talents and skills. They realized this was a good thing and they saw their art in a whole different way. New possibilities bloomed in their heads on how they could use these new talents and skills to improve their art.
Soon they noticed a message the old Sage had “scratched” on the floor of the great hall.
“PRIDE, like the magnet, constantly points to one object, SELF, but unlike the magnet, it has no attractive pole, but at all points repells.”
ALL the artisans stopped scratching their heads, and somewhere, a Sage smiled.
Scratching your head ….. thinking this story would be about sharing?
Somewhere a Sage chuckles.