Can’t I Figure This Out On My Own?

It can be hard to hear the call of the future amidst the din of fads and outmoded business practices. The future is often like the elusive nightingale.

According to the folk tale, a Chinese emperor is complimented on the presence of a nightingale in his court. Embarrassed because he has never heard it, he sends his courtiers to find the bird and bring it back to the court. This proves to be quite a challenge since the courtiers have never heard the nightingale either. Finally, a kitchen maid is discovered who can take the men to the bird at the edge of the forest. On the journey, one of the courtiers says, “Ah, stop. I hear it. That is the nightingale.” The kitchen maid says, “No, those are the cows lowing.” The courtiers continue on their journey. Another courtier stops and says, “Listen. Surely this is the nightingale.” And the kitchen maid answers, “No, those are the church bells ringing.” Finally, the kitchen maid brings the courtiers to the nightingale, who is singing her exquisite song. When the courtiers look at the unprepossessing bird, they say, “This can’t be right. This can’t be the nightingale. This bird is not beautiful enough to look at.”

To truly be able to hear the future that is coming through, I may have to first see that I’ve never heard the nightingale. It is with the help of someone who has heard it themselves that the connection to the future can occur.

What if being a 21st century leader is about developing the capacity to hear the elusive future that is calling you? We will need an unencumbered and unconditioned field of awareness, a very different mindset to tap into the new that is already coming through. What does it take to do business ahead of the curve, making decisions from an entirely new perspective? A leader cultivating a transformed awareness can allow for a new stewardship of the company and its employees, and, in turn, curate a deep care and genuine stewardship of all living beings. The emerging sense of oneness will cultivate a self, a life, and an enterprise that is fully alive and uniquely responsive to the challenges facing us today. This enables all of us to move forward, co-creating with the future that wants to happen. How would you have to change your thinking to hear the nightingale?


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