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I know I've Learned Enough - A Tale of Humility

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

In my early twenties, when I was new to the world of martial arts our Sensei would often tell us tales about humility and life lessons. The martial arts classes were a combination of memorizing physical techniques, combined with stamina, strength building and at the end of most classes a take-a-way lesson for life.

One story I still reflect on, is the story of a prince who was enlisted by his father the king to learn the art of calligraphy and then produce a welcome Mr. Mann banner. As the tale goes this Mr. Mann (which translated to 10,000) was a VIP, coming to the palace to share his knowledge of the world. The task of constructing this welcome banner was of great importance to the King!

He hired the best calligrapher for the prince to learn from. Unfortunately the prince was impatient and entitled and felt he was already much more capable of the art of calligraphy than he actually was.

Alas, the prince and the expert calligrapher had their first lesson and it was quick and ultimately a disaster. The calligrapher showed the Prince how to do the stroke for the number 1, with one stroke, 2, was two strokes and 3 was three strokes. The Prince decided he had seen all he needed and sent the teacher away, telling the King, "I know, I have learned enough."

For days the Prince locked himself in his room, while he worked tirelessly on the "Welcome Mr. Mann" banner. The King was so proud of his son's dedication, he told his people "my son is a perfectionist, and wants help from no one else."

The day before Mr. Mann arrived the Prince burst out of this room in frustration, and exclaimed "I need more time, Mr. Mann's name is too long and I will never finish by tomorrow!" The King trying to reassure his son, and yet feeling very confused walked into the Prince's room to find dozens and dozens of pages with single calligraphy brush strokes. It seems that the King's son ended the calligraphy lessons too soon. Had he been patient and willing to learn, he would have been taught that Mr. Mann's name could be done with just three strokes, and not the ten thousand individual strokes the Prince was attempting to produce.

The moral of the story is when we are learning something new, be patient and open to the process. Life is about learning and growing every day. We can't possibly know all there is to know about one subject. There is always more to learn. As a teacher I'm constantly learning, from my mentors, coaches and more importantly from my students and clients.

This is what makes life so wonderful and fluid. As a teacher and coach, I need to have regular sessions with my own mentors. Learning about myself and how to be the best version of me, provides me with the tools I need to support my clients and students to achieve their goals and aspirations! To really understand life, we must experience it, get out of our own way and humbly allow ourselves to learn from the world around us. As we gain more knowledge in our life it grows into wisdom, and this can not be rushed! Wisdom is the gift of time and experience.

So if you ever catch yourself say "I know", remember the Prince and the way he told his teacher, "I know, I have learned enough."

As a coach I'm interested in helping other learn, grow and achieve their life's ambitions, so let's talk about what those next steps could look like!

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