The Power of Finding What You’re NOT Looking For

The Tale of the Master and the Traveler

To those around him he looked pretty happy. He seemed to have success, and many of those he knew were envious of his material possessions and status. But inside, he had secretly known for a long time that he was living an unfulfilled and in many ways purposeless life, and so on what would be both the scariest and most wonderful day of his life, he walked away from it in every sense of the words. He began a heroic journey that too few have the courage to take.

The man began a journey that would take him away from home for many years. He didn’t know what he wanted from this journey, nor did he really even know where it would take him. He just knew with every fiber of his being was that what he had been pursuing had left him empty. He was certain that the things he had been doing were bringing him very little joy, very little happiness and even less satisfaction—and so began his journey.

He travelled to many strange and unchartered places, not only in the physical world but also in the inner sanctums of his heart and mind. He had come to know this great emptiness as the hole in his soul. His only goal in starting the journey was to fill that emptiness, in a way he’d never done before; from within, and in his travels he managed to do so. However, it wasn’t permanent, and after a long time, while he felt he had made progress, he found that this emptiness would creep back in to haunt him. Non-the-less, he sensed that he’d gained some knowledge, some insight, something that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, and with it the emptiness had started to fade away.

It wasn’t that the emptiness had been totally irradiated and could never come back. It would in fact return periodically, and strangely, when it did, he welcomed it, because he knew that the emptiness’ presence was a call for him to travel ever deeper on his quest.

Every step on his journey gave him a greater understanding of himself, allowing him to see a little more of what he had been blind to for so long. And so he learned to embrace the emptiness, because it motivated him to continue.

Many years had passed and in time, until one day he found himself at the feet of a great master. This teacher saw him in ways that nobody else did, and saw something in his eyes that no one else had ever seemed to see. The master could not only see the man on the journey, but also the man within the journey, and he did this in ways the man had not even known himself.

The master invited the traveler to sit with him and barely breathing and with great reverence he did so. Their eyes met and the master inquired as to how long the man had been travelling, where he had gone and who had been his guides. The traveler took his time to answer the questions, certain that each question had buried within it some gem that would pierce through confusion the way a lighthouse guides a lost ship to safety.

Then suddenly without warning the master asked the traveler one other question, a question that shook the traveler to his foundation.

The eyes of the master held the traveler transfixed and with perfect calm the master spoke, “You have traveled to many lands, over a long period of time and you have learned many things over the course of your long journey” He took a long pause as if to allow the traveler to recognize the length and intensity of his own journey.

The master continued; “if you could go back in time and meet yourself on the day you were about to embark on this epic journey – what question would you ask yourself that would be most beneficial to you on the day you started your journey? What one question would you ask that younger version of yourself that would speed up your journey?”

The traveler was stunned by the question. For a moment his mind went blank, lost in the confusion of thinking he knew what was coming. You see, what he really expected the master to ask was what advice he would give to himself as a younger man about to embark on a journey. He was already formulating an answer when he realized that no, it was not advice he was to impart. The master wanted him to form a question he would ask his younger self.

Average Leaders go looking for answers, while leaders of excellence are focused on finding better questions.

In our own way, we are all travelers on the road of life looking for signs to guide us to a destination that will bring us at least a little more joy, success and fulfillment and maybe just maybe a little less struggle and suffering.

And so now I must ask you the same question. Knowing what you now know—having learned what you have learned on your journey—if you could go back in time and meet yourself just as you were about to embark upon your adventure, what question would you ask yourself that would speed up the journey without in any way devaluing anything you have learned?

Right here, I’m challenging you not to just read this (information) but rather to choose to take the information and use it to catalyze some kind of transformation. It will be of great value to you to grab a pen and your journal and write down the answer, as quickly as possible and from the gut.

Let yourself imagine; you have gone back in time, and are facing a younger you as you are about to embark on your journey to leadership— what question would you ask yourself?

So often leadership is about looking for answers and then finding better questions

Because this is significant, do not delay, do it now! By the way, it is of no value to me, do it don’t do it, nothing will change in my life – but you can be certain it is of great significance to you.

Let me remind you, the master did not tell the traveler to give advice; it is a question that you must write down, a question that would speed up your journey without diluting any of the knowledge you have picked up along the way.

I trust that you found this valuable if so feel free to send this to your friends.

Dov Baron Speaks internationally and is The Leading Authority on Authentic Leadership and creating a Corporate Culture of Fiercely Loyal Leaders. Dov is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and Inc. Magazine. In 2014 he was sighted as one of the Top 100 Leadership Speakers to book for your next conference! You can take a look at Dov Baron’s new book “Fiercely Loyal” How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent, by clicking HERE. :

To Contact Dov Baron International, and Authentic Paragon Alliance INC. Contact Authentic Paragon Alliance at +1 (778) 379-7517 or Full Monty Leadership

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(Originally Published