13th Century Humility and Wisdom

Tags: Leadership, Performance

Today’s blog features a poem that is not my own writing, but I chose from thousands of possibilities for the introduction of my book.  It is an epigraph written by the brilliant Persian poet Rumi, who lived in the 13th century.  It was translated by Andrew Harvey in Light Upon Light, who gave me permission to use it. To me the poem is about humility and the mystery of unexplained wisdom. We can each ask ourselves, who are we to do the things we do? Who are we to lead others? When does leadership become arrogant and hurt those we lead? Where does our wisdom come from? How do we atone for our mistakes? How do we find meaning in life? How do we learn from our failures? How does a leader inspire others? How do we forgive others and not hold on to resentments? How do we do something that helps shape a path for others?

Let’s each of us look someone in the eye and say the magic words “I am sorry.” Let’s remember to say thank you.

Thank you Rumi.

And thank you.


I do not speak these words, Love speaks them

This subject is something I know nothing about.

You can only tell this story if you are a thousand years old.

What can I know? I am a child of the present.

Yet the child I am is a parasite on the Eternal One

And my union with him ages me centuries.

        − Rumi



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