Zen and the Confident CEO

It’s how good your decisions are, not how you feel about them.

An AI-generated image in traditional Japanese style of a CEO and a Master.
The CEO and the Master. Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

A CEO came to see a Master, and said: “Master, I’m so proud of my business. I have been leading it for seven years, and never wavered in giving it direction.”

“Your confidence is commanding,” said the Master. “So I gather that you make decisions with good judgement?”

“Certainly, Master. And I make decisions quickly. When a problem presents itself, I make the call and never look back.”

“I see,” said the Master. “But then I wonder, if you don’t look back, how do you know you made the right decision?”

The CEO fell silent in surprise.

“So let’s look a little closer,” said the Master. “What was the last decision you made?”

“I invested in new tools, Master.”

“And, are those tools helping you?”

The CEO thought for a moment. “Not really, Master, now that you mention it. My workers prefer the old ones.”

“I see,” said the Master. “And what decision did you make before that?”

“Ah, that was a great decision. I fired my accountant, Master,” said the CEO.

“You fired your accountant?”

“Yes, Master. I didn’t like his numbers. I feel so much better. No need to deal with his bad news anymore!”

He looked at the Master smiling, waiting for his praise.

But the Master did not speak.

At that moment, the CEO was Enlightened.

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