An old man on the point of death summoned his sons around him to give them some parting advice. He ordered them to bring in a bundle of sticks, and said to his eldest son: “Break it.”
The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the bundle. The other sons also tried, but none succeeded.
“Untie the bundle,” said the father, “and each of you take a stick.” When they had done so, he told them: “Now, break,” and each stick was easily broken.A famous story that was taught to us in primary school.
We all know that unity has a strength which has far more potential than a single person. But I wanted to go a bit further with this idea, exploring Unity not only with people, but in a more abstract way in our life and work.
There are two questions I ask,
- What makes a Group or a union successful?
- Where (and how) else can we apply the idea of ‘Many stronger than one‘ ?
The real fun is in answering the second question, but I need to build up the framework, so I will try to reflect on question 1.
- Focus– A group must be focused in one direction. There is no power in unfocused energy. All the members of a union must have one goal.
- Harmony– Even Though your goal is one, there can be many different ways to achieve it. If each member of a union follows his own method, there will be chaos. All chess pieces must work in harmony with each-other to make a successful attack.
- A sense of a group greater than self – When each member believes that he/she is a part of something greater than themselves, a union is full of self-less energy required to overcome any obstacles.
- Faith in the ultimate goal – Point no. 3 can only happen when one has total faith on the cause
- Leader– It needs a person who is inspiring and leading the union towards the ultimate goal. A great leader also generates faith in everyone. A chess player is a leader of an army. A bad leader can lead his forces to disharmony and chaos. A great leader knows where each one belongs, and how to make the most of his forces.
So now, keeping these points in mind, I want to turn to the more important 2nd question.
‘Where else can we apply the idea of unity?’ I could think of 3 important ways which I can apply on my life:
1.) Unity through different areas of work
I find in myself a drive to do many things. I want to achieve mastery in chess, architecture, writing and music. I have tried working on all these areas as if they are separate fields of work. But it becomes exhausting and I cannot really get the focus required to get deep into any one area.
But sometimes I have felt that all these areas are different modes of the same creative expression. The deeper I go into each area, the more similarities I find. For example,
- a structure in a game of chess can inspire me to create an architectural form. A pattern of pawns can become series of columns or walls…etc. I am still working on it.
- Architecture has been said to be frozen music, and there have been many similarities found in design of music and architecture.
- Architecture also uses the term ‘language’ often to identify a character, thus strongly related to writing.
The point is that if I make all these things work in harmony towards a one goal, my mind can develop in a very unique way, which understands this ‘oneness’ of things. I am still struggling with how this can happen, and what one goal can I have..:\
But I am the leader, and I have to be a good leader and lead all these to a unique level. Maybe you are struggling with something similar too?
2.) Identity through your different pieces of work.
This one is a very simple, but notable idea. An identity of a successful person becomes stronger and stronger with each new work. You need a chain of ‘pieces of work’ to create a really strong identity. One piece of work, no matter how great will never create that strength of identity or confidence.
When you are new at something, you expect a quick success. If you are a new blogger, you want it to become famous quickly (like I did:P). But now I keep in mind this:
- To become a more confident and successful artist, you need to BUILD series of good and high quality artworks.
- To become a successful photographer, you need to BUILD a chain of great photographs belonging to one theme. (Harmony)
- To become a successful architect, you need to literally BUILD many buildings
- To become a successful blogger, you need to BUILD a chain of insightful blog posts.
No matter what you want to achieve, you need to BUILD a chain of good work in that area. Have you noticed the difference between greatly successful music bands and the average ones? Top music bands keep on making great music, because they have focused on building a chain. It is sometimes surprising to me how these people manage to bring hits one after the other so quickly.
But the point to note is that what influences another is a chain of great work. One masterpiece is not enough. It needs another and then another and many more.. a family of masterpieces. It leads to the third and most important point.
3.) Chain of productive days
Your life is a chain of finite number of days. Your success in life can be identified with the number and accumulative effect of productive days. More productive days means stronger identity of success.
One productive day is satisfying. But just like the above point, it needs another. You have to focus on the chain of highly productive days before you can even begin to see the results. So it takes a lot of days.
When you spend one great day at work, you are more content and confident and it all adds up when you build a chain of such beautiful days. It suggests itself that to build a chain of productive days you need to build good habits.
These were my reflections on the idea of Unity. I hope I have added value to your life or at least raised questions which are important to you. Thank you for reading. 😁
Featured image from wallpaperaccess.com.