Zen and the Art of Collaboration

In which a student learns about the most powerful force in human nature.

An AI-generated painting in traditional Japanese style of a student and a Master.
A Student and a Master. Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

“My,” said the Master to the Student, “you seem disheartened.”

“It is true, Master,” said the Student. “We just tried ‘The Nine Whys’ in our company, and it was quite disappointing.”

“Ah, the new method for finding common purpose. Did it not work?”

“Sadly, it didn’t, Master. We began by discussing the importance of our roles in the group. Then came the repeated ‘why’ questions, nine times for each answer. It felt so strange, Master, so unnatural.”

“In what way, my Son?”

“Nobody seemed truly interested in the “why” behind our answers. And everyone just said what they hoped would please the Boss. In the end, our common purpose turned out to be the company’s success.”

“I see,” said the Master. “So, it appears a more sincere approach is needed.”

“How could we find that, Master?”, asked the Student.

“By opening your hearts to the strongest force in human nature. It is key to learning, understanding, and connection. Find it, and you will find true purpose.”

“Which force is that, Master?” the Student asked.

But the Master did not speak. When the Student looked surprised, he merely smiled.

At that moment, the Student understood.

“Is it – curiosity?”

Further Reading

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