Friday, January 09, 2009

Tea

“The visionary denies the truth to himself, the liar only to others”~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Aside from water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world and has been enjoyed since Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung took the first sip in 2737 B.C. As legend goes the Emperor was drinking a bowl of boiling water when the wind blew a few leaves from a tree into his water which began to change the color of the hot water. An inquisitive Emperor, Shen-Nung took a sip of the bowl and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor, and tea was invented.

New York coffee maker Thomas Sullivan was a struggling businessman who was looking to cut costs while trying to promote his tea products. In an effort to cut costs, Thomas sent out small sample sized silk packets of his teas for people to cut open and use to taste. Not knowing that they were supposed to cut the silk bags open, his customers dipped the silk bags into their hot cups of water as a means to brew the tea. This is how the tea bag was invented.

Presently in America, tea is a $6.8 billion enterprise.

Multiple times a day we either are misunderstood or are faced with an accident and spend countless hours trying to explain ourselves or brush the accident aside and give it no further thought. Our mistake is not in others interpretation or accidental chance; it is in not recognizing opportunity within every action that surrounds us. Our focus is so narrow and in front of us that we don’t allow ourselves to see the possibility that in many cases falls in our hot bowl of water.

Focus is our ability to create concentrated effort or attention on a particular thing. We are trained in focus at a young age until it becomes ingrained in us that what is important lie ahead of us. We are told to focus on the teacher at school, focus on the ball in sports, focus on the road while driving, and focus on our work in our place of employment. Essentially we are trained to focus on opportunities that are directly in our line of sight.

What we are not taught is vision. Vision is our ability to anticipate possible future events and developments, meaning that opportunity comes from all angles and we must have the necessary awareness of our surroundings to see opportunity from wherever it is derived. Our vision allows us to not be misunderstood, but to see how others understand us and then benefit from it. Vision allows mistakes to happen so we can gain power from the mistake and reap from it.

We do not need to throw out the water because a leaf fell in our cup, we need to look at the cup and let our curiosity create opportunity. We also do not have to explain to others that they have misunderstood our purpose; we need to see that they dip the tea bag in the water and created something new.

Creating great focus without vision only allows us to become better liars. We can look at the teacher and not listen, we see the ball and not act, we can stare at the road and put our attention elsewhere, and we can stare at our desk and not work. In any case we can appear focused on what we are not. With vision we do not have such luxuries because we must constantly be aware of everything that surrounds us. We must constantly be present in ourselves. Because of this, our lexicon has the word visionary and not focusary.

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