We all know we should approach each situation with an open mind, yet we (ourselves) just get in the way.
The philosophy of Confucius aims to separate the act from the person creating the effect. Buddhist theology shares with us many illuminating concepts that help us to move past the outcome and focus on the how the desired results impact the environment and those affected by thought. In our western culture many of us find it hard to separate our actions from the outcomes and the emotional involvement we have attributed to the mental act.
So by way of a simple story allow me to share a mental exercise that will challenge your very social conditioning and personal image.
The King of Wei was all powerful and all decisions final upon his word. The ruler of the feudal state of the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). Ho Chin was a student of Confucius and eager to ply his skills. He went to Confucius upon learning how the King of Wei was treating his people to seek council and direction on what he felt was his calling. Confucius asked a simple question of Ho Chin, what is his purpose once he reached the King of Wei. Ho Chin’s reply was that he would explain to King Wei that mistreating his people did not gain their trust as a King should have, surly this reference would cause him to change his ways. Ho Chin concluded by saying that this was a reasonable line of thought. I am sure, replied Confucius that King Wei is a reasonable man and reasoning would produce a result. The result that he currently exhibits based on how he sees the world. Your questioning his reasonable state of mind may just bring you an unreasonable response.
Ho Chin took some time to ponder what Confucius has shared with him and quickly returned to suggest another approach. What is I appeal to his sense of justice, fairness and morality. Surely continued Ho Chin, King Wei would respond favorable to the standards of justice, fairness and morality laid down by his for-fathers. Indeed he would favor that time go past now, replied Confucius. A time when rules had the affection of their people, yet ruled with an iron fist due to the development of the territories. You will remind him of his for-fathers need to understand not just their aspirations, the aspirations of his neighboring family houses. You will have to be very mindful of your history as he see it. His governance will encircle you with positions of deep emotional attachment, would you be ready, would you be aware of these perspectives as you share your wish to bring your justice, fairness and your sense of morality to the table for discussion asked Confucius.
Once again, Ho Chin had to console himself with aspects of his mission he had not thought about and went off to reconsider his mission. Once again he presented to Confucius another approach. I will build rapport and trust with King Wei by exhibiting my wealth of knowledge about his kingdom. How systems can be improved, community engagement and economic positioning with his bordering Houses can ensure the longevity of his rule. So, replied Confucius, what of his advisers, statesman and council. What are they then there for? Does not the King have his direction and input on such matters already eager to see them bear fruit? Are you sure you will be seen as a helping of the king or a separator of his statesmen and a forger of doom for the King himself?
By now Ho Chin began to question himself and his understanding of the philosophy of Confucius. For 7 days and 7 nights he sort to understand the words of Confucius and how he could apply them to King Wei. Finally he presented himself back to Confucius and acknowledged he could not produce a method nor process of understanding that he felt would be acceptable for the King. Upon which Confucius replied, your cup is over filled and you are not ready to listen to what is all around you and those talking. Free your mind of preconceived constructs. Park your already understanding of what you currently believe to be so. Let your process of judgment and conviction be left at the door. Enter with a mind not clouded by what you think the end should look like rather ask what it is the King seeks and let that knowledge be your guiding light to build upon.
Change Management is certainly a process. Before you conscript the troops you have to involve them in the planning process and for that to happen you have to listen to how they hear, see and feel the end results of what you are about to build. The tools you bring to the job will be tools you all agree upon and the house will be erected more easily.
Have you ever worked on a Habitat for Humanity project?