Learn to think of the unthinkable
With synergy, you become a formidable force in your quest for success.
Here is a story I often share with my students: When the student first started in the Martial Science, he didn’t even have a white belt, but he approached the master and said, “I want to learn the Martial Science.”
The master replied, “Can you break a board with just one finger?”
The young student didn’t want to let on that he couldn’t do it or that he didn’t have the heart. But still he couldn’t lie, so he said, “No.”
The master replied, “When you have learned to break the board with your fingers, you will have learned one of the most important lessons in the Martial Science.”
So the student took the board home with him and for days, he attempted to break the board with his finger. Finally, he went back to the Master and said, “I could not break the board with my finger.”
The master, not surprised, simply asked, “Can you break the board with your finger?”
Perplexed, the student again honestly replied, “No… not yet.”
The master said, “When you have learned to break the board with your fingers, you will have learned one of the most important lessons in the martial science.”
So the confused student took the board home again and attempted to physically break the board with his finger. All the while, the master’s words echoed in his head.
Finally, after much frustration and anger, the young student put the board down; his finger was swollen and pulsating with pain. He decided to start thinking instead of continuously beating the board with his finger. Again and again the conversation with his master would repeat in his head.
“Can you break the board with your finger? When you have learned to break the board with your fingers, you will have learned one of the most important lessons in the martial science.”
After playing this dialogue over and over again a light finally went on in his head; he jumped up in anticipation, held the board in the air, squeezed all his fingers together, made a fist and struck hard into the board, breaking it in two pieces. With a satisfied look of relief and happiness, he grabbed the two halves, ran to his master and showed him the pieces.
The master asked, “How did you break the board?”
The student replied, “I made a fist and broke the board.”
The master smiled and said, “With this you have learned the science of synergy, which contains three important points:
- To think before you act (helps avoid assumption).
- To think of the unthinkable (consider creative solutions)
- To combine the parts to make a stronger whole (the science of synergy).”
You see, the master never said, “When you have learned to break the board with your FINGER, you will have learned one of the most important lessons in the Martial Science.”
He asked, “Can you break the board with your finger?”
However, the logical-minded person makes up his or her own assumptions and thus their own difficulties and limitations. Many of us have this, “there is only one way” type of thinking (narrow minded view). We seldom exercise our creativity, and think of all the unexpected ways of solving the problem. That’s the first and second lesson: listen, pay attention, think, and try other ways to fill the gaps we don’t understand.
The whole is the sum of the parts
When the student in our story made the fist, he learned the third lesson. Combining the parts (fingers) to make a stronger whole (fist), he applied the “Science of Synergy.” The Science of Synergy is the system of mental self-defense, and a Mental Martial Arts practitioner wears a Black Belt in this art. If you hold out your hand, palm open, you have five fingers. If you close those fingers together, you form a fist. The fingers alone are not as strong as the combination of them all. You have mind, body, and spirit as powerful separate entities. Or, you can use them together and you have synergy.
Think of a time in your life where you too experienced or witnessed the practical use of this philosophy. Imagine how you might have changed some previous actions had you taken more time to consider a more synergistic effort. For example; combining a more powerful team, or bringing more powerful tools.