Only Suckers Wait

Have you ever heard the saying: "When the student is ready the teacher will appear"? It points to a true and common experience but does so in a stupid and mystifying way.

It seems to be saying that when you are truly ready to learn some person will magically appear in your life and teach you. Anything magical is exciting but what this idea really does is put your life out of your control. How, for instance, do you know when you are ready to learn? When someone else, whom you don't even know, decides to show.

In reality, the teacher does appear when you are ready to learn, but only because you look for him. Most likely he was there all the time, you just had no interest so you didn't pay any attention.

The proof: imagine you buy a book on time management. You glance at it and then it sits on your shelf for a couple of years. Finally, you become so dissatisfied with the way you manage your time that you look for the book. Or, perhaps, you become so dissatisfied that when you happen upon the book again, you take it much more seriously. Did it magically "appear"?

Or, let's say that you want to learn auto maintenance. You look in the yellow pages for a school and discover that there is one right around the corner from your home. It wasn't of interest to you before so you didn't notice it.

According to the saying, the auto mechanic would somehow seek you out because he knew intuitively that you were spiritually ready to take what he could give.

Naturally, no one could run a business with this passive attitude but, in fact, I recently had a tussle with a successful, 50-year-old businessman about this saying.
Naturally, he just thought I was a contrary kind of crank.

Of course, I could say that I was just being spiritual. Because isn't it zen-like to cut through the bullshit and face the matter-of-fact truth?

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