The Story Of The Busy Business Man, The Sage & The Value Of Self Knowledge

Silvia Damiano
2 min read

What would you do differently if you knew yourself better? The sage asked the busy businessman. I would not take my reactions so seriously. That is why I have asked you to come, so you can teach me how to do it, the business man replied impatiently. And how do your reactions affect you on a daily basis? The sage continued unruffled. 

Well, sometimes the people who work for me do not tell me what they think and the environment becomes difficult and tense. I end up not knowing what to do and I doubt if my decisions are the right ones, the business man replied slowly.

And have you asked yourself how they feel when the atmosphere becomes tense the sage insisted. The business man stopped to reflect for a few minutes looking at the sage perplexedly and said: How am I supposed to know what they feel? I hardly have time to think about what I need to do. Is it possible that you have never had the chance to ask them how they feel? – asked the sage in an inquisitive manner, looking at him strongly. 

In reality, it is not that there are not enough occasions to speak about these types of things. I simply prefer to avoid these moments, as I would not know what to say. At the end of the day, they only work for me. It is enough that they do what I ask them to do, the business man said trying to justify himself. 

And how do you think they feel when the atmosphere is difficult and tense? Again, asked the sage. Man!!! I have already told you that I do not know, said the business man in an upsetting tone.

Why don’t you give me three ideas so my people increase their productivity and we finish with this? If I gave you three ideas, what would you do with them quietly asked the sage?

I would give them to my managers so they could put them on posters to put all over the place, said the business man with determination. And what would you do next? – asked the sage. I would then return to what I do every day. Lead my company. This is what I know and this is what I do best – the business man replied proudly. 

And how about spending some time learning about yourself asked the sage?

And why would I want to do that? With the three ideas you will give me it will be enough. Everyone in the company will know what they need to do without me having to repeat it continually. 

And how about spending some time learning about yourself asked the sage a second time. 

There were a few minutes of absolute silence. Perhaps I would be afraid to discover what’s inside, the business man replied in a very gentle voice. This was said without getting uptight and with a deep sincerity in his eyes.

Originally posted on: 14 April 2012
Last updated on: 25 November 2023

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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