"Write Your Worries On Sand…"
Stephen R. Covey in his best selling book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘ shared a story by Arthur Gordon called “The Turn of the Tide.”
Gordon describes a time when he found his world stale and flat. His enthusiasm for life waned, and he was getting worse daily. A medical doctor found nothing physically wrong with him, but said he might be able to help if Gordon could follow his instructions for one day.
He was to spend the next day in the place where he’d been happiest as a child. He was not to talk to anyone, nor to read, write, or listen to the radio. The doctor then wrote out four prescriptions and told him to open one at 9a.m., noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m.
The next morning, Gordon went to the beach. His first prescription said only this: “Listen carefully.” It seemed insane to listen to waves for three hours. But he did it – and began to hear more and more sounds that weren’t obvious at first. He began to think of lessons he’d learned as a child from the sea: patience, respect for the interdependence of things. He felt a growing peace.
The noon prescription read, “Try reaching back.” To what? He thought of the joyful times of his childhood, and felt a growing warmth inside.
The 3 p.m. message threw some cold water on him: “Examine your motives.” At first, he was defensive. Of course he wanted success, fame, security – he could justify them all. But then it occurred to him that these motives weren’t good enough, and that fact was making him stagnant.
“It makes no difference,” he wrote later, “whether you are a mailman, a hairdresser, a housewife -whatever. As long as you feel you are serving others, you do the job well. When you are concerned only with helping yourself you do it less well – a law as inexorable as gravity.”
When 6 p.m. came, the final prescription didn’t take long to fill: “Write your worries on the sand.” He knelt and wrote several words with a piece of broken shell; then he turned and walked away. He didn’t look back; he knew the tide would come in.
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