According to an old story, a lord of ancient China once asked his physician, a member of a family of healers, which of them was the most skilled in the art.
The physician, whose reputation was such that his name became synonymous with medical science in China, replied, “My eldest brother sees the spirit of sickness and removes it before it takes shape, so his name does not get out of the house.
“My elder brother cures sickness when it is still extremely minute, so his name does not get out of the neighborhood.
“As for me, I puncture veins, prescribe potions, and massage skin, so from time to time my name gets out and is heard among the lords.”
The lesson Cleary took out of this is that, regardless of the specific context, less is usually more. He also ties this to Sun Tzu’s philosophy that “The peak efficiency of knowledge and strategy is to make conflict altogether unnecessary:”
“To overcome others’ armies without fighting is the best of skills.”
Isn’t it interesting that the principle still applies, and perhaps always will, that those who know the most usually say the least and those who do a thing best feel the least need to publicize it. Now, this shouldn’t be confused with advertising and marketing; we must do this as a form of business-building and maintenance.
Yet, there’s that certain thing we notice in people, isn’t there? When we hear a person talking about how _____ they are, we almost always assume the opposite, don’t we?
As Aunt Elle, the mentor in It’s Not About You tells her protege, Ben, “It’s not that what you say isn’t important. It is. That’s just not where the source of your power lies. What you have to give, you offer least of all through what you say; in greater part through what you do; but in greatest part through who you are.”
Just like the eldest brother in that ancient Chinese family of healers.