Presenting Will

A former court entertainer intent on becoming a successful merchant had enrolled in The Academy of Yen Tzu, sponsored by his Duke, on the condition that upon graduation the former entertainer would apply his new skills in the business dealings of the Duke, including making presentations, which the Duke himself would never do.

During an evening when the students were relaxing the entertainer began to juggle first one, then two, then three, then four and then five balls in the air.

‘What skill you have,’ exclaimed Yen Tzu as he passed through the recreation hall. ‘What special way have you learned to do such a thing?’

‘I have a way,’ replied the entertainer. ‘For the first five or six months I first practice with two balls, then when I have mastered juggling them without concentration I introduce a third ball. Then when can I do the same with the three as I did with the two, without thinking about it then I know I am prepared to introduce a fourth, Then I do the same operation for every other ball I introduce, until I can present the balls into the air as I intend and please my audience.’

Yen Tzu turned to the surrounding students and said, ‘See how a Man’s spirit concentrated through disciplined perseverance keeps his will undivided. Such power of constancy makes even the impossible look easy! Our courtly friend here has come to study how to present to an audience yet we can learn from him. For we are all capable of persisting. Each of us has displayed our natural ability to steadfastly persist when taking our first step. Learning to walk takes courage, determination, self-discipline and perseverance. Yet for too many these natural attributes begin to disappear from lack of use. The ‘do I have to’ and ‘can’t someone else do that’ syndrome is soon born, strengthened by the appeasement of others.

‘Winners are people who work at doing things that the majority of people are not willing to do. Not being willing to do something, does not mean not being able to do something. Every day there are incredible success stories of individuals who, seemingly unable to be or do, because of disability, adversity, or poverty, overcome all. They win through because their willingness has developed the discipline and persistence to do so.’

‘I have a question,’ asked a student. ‘I can accept we can practice and prepare for a party trick, because it is the same trick, requiring the same practiced skill, despite the audience. But how can we always be in command of practiced skill for every audience – that all demand differing approaches?’

‘A good question and one that I will answer with a story...

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