On a mountain lived a famous tea master. His skill in this art was unsurpassed, and many came from faraway to sit at his tea house.
One day an impatient samurai burned his tongue on the master’s green tea. Enraged, he challenged the master to a duel.
As the warrior drew his sword, the master turned to his young apprentice.
“I have done nothing but make tea my whole life. This duel is surely my end. The tea house is yours, my student.”
The student cried out.
“No master, take my sword. Face this warrior and raise your weapon in the same way you raise the teapot!”
The master walked slowly into the courtyard, and the samurai rushed to attack.
Then, the master closed his eyes and raised his weapon steadily towards heaven, with the same grace and strength he would command in the solemnest of tea rituals.
At this display of balance, the samurai panicked and thought, “This old man must be a master swordsman!”
The samurai fled the tea house, never to return.
Food for thought: This Zen story shows how true mastery of one skill is far better than trying to learn multiple skills to appear more formidable. In our world we are constantly pressured to multitask and be able to adapt to any situation, but what really makes us effective in work and play alike is to find what we are really good at, and devote as much energy as possible towards developing ourselves in those areas.
The lesson? Simplify. Remove all obstacles. Do only what you enjoy doing, and trust in your unique skill set to get you through any situation in daily life.