Transcript of The Sword Crafter’s Parable
Many, many years ago, there was once a sword crafter, and he was known worldwide by his reputation for creating these swords that were genius level. People revered this man. He was the master crafts-person of sword people. He was BIW, he was best in the world at what he did.
One day there was a great king, and the great king had heard about this sword crafter, who was playing at Picasso level, and he said, “I must meet this man.” So the king’s people went out and found this sword crafter in a very small village, and they brought the sword crafter to meet the king. The sword crafter came in and he was very humble and he was very gentle. The king, in return, was also very gracious and welcoming.
Then the king asked the sword crafter his favorite question when he would meet a master. He said, “Sword crafter, what is the secret to your extraordinary excellence at what you do?” The sword crafter said, “Well it’s very simple, King.” He said, “Ever since I was a young child, I was exposed to the craft of making swords.” And he said, “I fell in love with it. It didn’t only speak to my head and my logic, it spoke to me at the most deep and soulful level. It spoke to my heart.” He said, “When I was a young child, I made a decision that I would be the master sword crafter.” So he said, “As I grew up, I read books on sword crafting, and if something did not relate to sword crafting, if it did not have the word sword in it, if it did not look like a sword, if it had nothing to do with the art of sword crafting, I did not spend my time with it. That is the secret of my mastery.”
Well, that parable, I call it the “Sword Crafter’s Parable,” I invite you to wrap your head around it, because in many ways it’s the secret of being world class. We do live in a world where so many of us are pulled in so many different directions. We are, to use the cliche, we are time starved. The only way you can win in your work and the only way you can win in your personal life and the only way you can get to the last hour of your last day and say, “You know what, I was a master,” is if you devote yourself to focusing on the few things that are most important.
I’ll actually challenge you. What are the five things in your life that are most important? One is your career. Second may be your family. Three may be your personal development. Four may be art. Five, I don’t know what it is for you, but build your life obsessively – obsession is not a bad thing unless it’s a bad thing – but obsessively focus your time and your energy on the five things that are most important. Then, go about stripping away all the noise and all the complexity and all the things that don’t relate to your five swords.
There are a lot of people who are really bored, and so what they do is they spend their best hours playing angry games, looking on Instagram, and checking their Facebook notifications, and just doing all these things.
Then, they argue, “Well, I’m really, really busy. Look at all the things that I do,” without divorcing themselves from what they do and stepping back and looking at what they do and saying, “I’m wasting my time on all these things that are seemingly important in the moment, but they’re really trivial. They’re just these shiny toys that I’m giving my best hours of my best days to.”
So, please remember the sword crafter’s metaphor. Please devote yourself. Be one of those 1% people who really focus on the few things that matter. Have the courage to say no to the people who are calling for your time. Have the courage to say no to those activities that are just really attractive, but you know they’re not valuable.
From New York City, I wish you great focus. Keep Leading Without A Title and playing at your absolute best. Bye-bye.