Richard Schiffman counsels that when we are hunting for something, whether it is a cookie or wisdom, it is harder to find it. What we look for can sometimes be right there in front of us, but, in looking for it, we cannot find it. In fact, what we are looking for can end up in the most unexpected places: in a jar in Tennessee.
It is in mindful, sensitive being in the present moment that what we look for finds us. When we apply this to leadership and education, it is about listening to the world and others.
What we each seek is unique to each of us. When we tell the stories and speak the poems about what we seek, we do so finding the words that suit our stories and our poems. Leaders sense this and offer others space to find the words for their stories and poems. In finding and choosing our paths and our words, we can become the smart cookies we seek.
The fortune that you seek is in another cookie,
was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank—the wisdom
that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire
is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving
is in another jar. The jar is buried somewhere in Tennessee.
Don’t even think of searching for it. If you found that jar,
everything would go kerflooey for a thousand miles around.
It is the jar of your fate in an alternate reality. Don’t even
think of living that life. Don’t even think of eating that cookie.
Be a smart cookie—eat what’s on your plate, not in some jar
in Tennessee. That’s my wisdom for today, though I know
it’s not what you were looking for.