Below is a parable that appears in an excellent book titled “The Chemistry of Joy,” by Henry Emmons, M.D. This tale, found in the writings of philosopher Idries Shah, is a favorite of mine and I am ever mindful of its unexpected final sentence. The power of the story’s lesson continues to help me build my business, and I hope it will help you, too.
Henry Emmons writes: “Like many ancient teaching stories, this one involved a wise fool, sort of a sacred clown, who manages to fumble his way into wisdom—Mullah Nasrudin, the foil for many Islamic tales.”
Mullah Nasrudin has taken up gardening. He loves the flowers and vegetables that he grows, and he becomes an adept gardener. But his garden is plagued by dandelions, and Nasrudin begins to grow more and more frustrated at his inability to control them.
Finally, Nasrudin can bear the dandelion invasion no longer. He travels to the city to consult the Prince’s gardener, acknowledged throughout the land for his mastery of gardening, and begs for help. The royal gardener gives Nasrudin instructions for the most effective remedy he knows.
Mullah Nasrudin goes home, full of enthusiasm, and follows the royal gardner’s instructions to the letter. But still, the dandelions return, just as they always have.
Really angry now, Nasrudin goes back to the master gardener. “You’re a fraud!” he declares. “Your remedy was no better than the rest! What else can I do about these dandelions?”
The master gardener looks thoughtful and strokes his chin. Finally, he says softly, “Mullah Nasrudin, there is only one thing to do. You must learn to love the dandelions.”
Henry says of the story: “We can’t root out our flaws any more than Nasrudin can destroy every single one of his dandelions. We might try for years, and the dandelions would still remain. There is only one thing to do. We must learn to love the dandelions.”
What are your dandelions?
So I ask: What are your personal and professional dandelions? What flaws do you spend too much time, money and energy trying to change? What do you beat yourself up about each day? How is this wasted effort hurting your business?
What would happen if you learned to wink at your self-perceived shortcomings, keep walking, and move forward to do your best work?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.