In our fast-paced world, there is an endless mantra of “doing more with less” and “thinking creatively” or “out-of-the-box”.
I have been in meetings where great, creative ideas were proposed, but in the end, nothing ever changed. Changing that is the message of this book.
Thank you for joining us on this literary journey. The story is in parable form and is meant to be unique, like no other business book you have read before. To make it fun and memorable to read, the setting of the story is in a time of kingdoms and princesses, and rest assured, the techniques contained within the story are firmly grounded in the latest research on how to be creative and how to live creatively. In this book, you will learn practical ways to generate many creative ideas, on command. You will also find ways to challenge assumptions, to utilize your strengths, and perhaps most importantly, to learn ways to overcome, reduce or manage around the fear of taking action on an idea.
The tale is about a man who learns new ways to creatively overcome four seemingly impossible challenges. He meets four memorable characters: Art, Ras, Tony, & E’Mussa, who teach different techniques to help him overcome his challenges. You will be able to apply those same techniques to generate creative ideas. Whether you are a school principal, a CEO of a company, or someone who just wants to live a more creative, outrageous and passionate life, coming up with creative solutions to problems is an essential skill.
Each week, for ten weeks, I will publish a section of this book in a blog. I invite you to read all ten installments and use the lessons contained within the next time you need to solve a problem. You will be amazed at the power in these techniques.
Dr. Jerry Evanski
We begin near the end of the story…
A few hours into his return trip home after six months of study and discovery with the magicians, The Prince of Belle was standing at the bow of the ship, enjoying the sea mist, and the mesmerizing sight of dolphins swimming alongside. He was heading back to his homeland, a beautiful seaside kingdom named Belle. The people there were happy and content, and most of them lived in the village at the bottom of the hill, upon which stood the castle that was his ancestral home.
The handsome prince looked young, yet had an air of confidence and calm about him that made him appear older. He stood with eyes closed, facing the gentle sea breeze, comfortable and content. He realized that he was pleased with himself, and it took a bit of time for him to identify why this was. He smiled when he discovered the answer…he was pleased because he was reaping the benefits of the lessons and training he had experienced in the last six months.
He had left his homeland quickly once he realized he needed to seek out teachers wiser than he so that he could learn what he did not know. He knew that he had to gain new skills and knowledge that would enable him to overcome the four challenges awaiting for him in his homeland. Prevailing over these challenges would make it possible to win his beloved’s hand and heart.
He was grateful for the time he had on this journey to think, let all of the lessons coalesce into a cogent whole. He was ready to apply them to solving the challenges when he arrived in his own land, the seaside Kingdom of Belle.
He had the perfect conditions to do such inner work—an abundance of time, and ample solitude. Every morning of the journey, he recalled the lessons he had learned, and thought deeply about their meaning and the connection between them. Eventually, the picture became more and more clear, until one day, the second to last day of the journey; he stood up and raised his hands to the sky, filled his lungs with salty sea air, and let out a loud howl of delight!
The prince hurried back to his cabin, eager to set a record of his remarkable journey with the magicians onto paper. He included all of the lessons he had learned from his teachers, and made sure to let them know that he had figured out how to apply these to his life, and to overcome the challenges that awaited him.
He did not have to check this understanding with anyone, because he could feel in his heart that it was correct. All of his conclusions had a feeling of rightness to them that could not be denied.
As soon as he decided to write a letter to his magician friends, he picked up his quill and parchment, and did not stop writing until morning. When he was finished, dawn was just breaking over the horizon. Even though he had not slept, he felt refreshed. Donning a warm robe to fight the bitter morning cold, he stood on the bow of the ship, watching as it came closer to journey’s end, the familiar port of his homeland slowly being revealed in the mist.
Looking out at the main dock of his city, he experienced a moment of shock. Even though it was freezing cold and barely light, the prince thought he saw what looked like a large crowd of people standing at the dock.
The prince walked over to the Captain, and asked if he knew anything about this unusual development.
“Yes, of course!” said the Captain. “They are here to meet the celebrity I have on board!”
The prince looked puzzled for a moment, until he realized that the celebrity the Captain was speaking of was —him!
“Captain, who am I to draw such a crowd?” The prince asked, incredulous.
“Prince, the other two princes failed in their attempts to overcome the four challenges. It has been many months since you have left, and only recently did others know of your training in the distant land. The excitement of your return is at a feverish pitch! Prepare yourself, and good luck!”
It took a few moments for the prince to take all of this in, and then he said to the Captain “Thank you for your hospitality. I have a favor to ask. Would you please deliver this letter to my friends, the magicians, when you arrive back in the distant land? It details some of the lessons they have taught me, and I’m sure they will be anxious to hear about them.”
“With pleasure,” said the Captain, “But if you’ll indulge me, with one small condition.”
“Name it sir, for you have been kind to me.”
“If what I have heard about you is true, many people will want to learn what you have learned, and follow in your footsteps. May I give copies of this record of your journey and the teachings you have gained to any who ask, so that they may learn a little of your wisdom?”
The prince smiled a little at the thought of himself as a wise man, knowing how much more he still had to learn, but politely replied “If what small understanding I have come to will help someone else, please feel free to do with it as you wish. Now, I must prepare for the landing.”
With that, the prince went to gather his belongings. The Captain did make many copies of that story, one copy of which you now hold in your hands.
Six Months earlier…
Long ago, in a kingdom of emerald fields and azure seas, when gentility and knowledge were prized above all else, there lived a man. The old man’s gray beard was in sharp contrast to his youthful energy and piercing eyes that saw more than was visible. This old man may have been poor in possessions, but rich in wisdom. This man had one true treasure: the beautiful princess in his care, who had eyes like a holiday and a face like a poem.
Because of her exceeding beauty and grace of character, the princes in the three neighboring kingdoms all vied for the maiden to become their betrothed, and made their wishes known to the poor but wise man.
In their private chambers, the princess was pacing back and forth so fast she looked like she was about to break into a run. Suddenly, she stopped pacing and glared at the poor but wise man. “Are you kidding me? she exclaimed. “These princes want to marry me? MARRY me? Because of my wit, charm, intelligence and wisdom? No! Because of my beauty. My BEAUTY!” This last word was almost a shout as she turned and resumed pacing. The poor but wise man, to try to calm her down, said “Yes, but you know that youngest prince is not that shallow. The other two…probably. But princess, remember we must keep up appearances. You, above anyone else, know that patience and timing will win the day. We must deal with this challenge as we have overcome challenges before.. Why not? What I will do is put out the message that…” and the poor but wise man told her his plan. The princess smiled and approved.
The next day, a message was delivered from the poor but wise man to the three princess that read “Since the princess is exceedingly modest and has not made her heart’s desire known, I am proposing a challenge to decide the dilemma and determine to which prince the princess would become betrothed.”
In the missive he invited the three young princes to meet him the very next day at the edge of the fast-moving river that flowed through the three kingdoms. Early the next morning, the poor but wise man was already waiting, along with the princess, who had arranged herself prettily on a rock looking down at the meeting site, when the princes arrived. When the princes had gathered, the poor but wise man addressed them: “As you well know, the princess is the most beautiful maiden in all the lands. I cannot promise her to anyone but the best. To prove who is most worthy, there will be a contest among the three of you. Whomsoever shall pass the challenges I have set will have my daughter’s hand and my blessing.”
In the brashness of their youth, the three princes were eager for the competition. As one, they all turned and looked up at the princess in her high perch. The princess looked at them with a look she hoped made her look shy and demure, but was really dripping with sarcasm. and tinged with disdain. It took all of her tremendous strength of will not to roll her eyes.
The princes only saw beauty, and they were spurred on by what they wanted to see, the shy gaze of the beautiful girl. They quickly turned back to the poor but wise man and enthusiastically consented to the challenges. They had turned away from the princess too fast to see her will power give out and her carefully controlled expression change to a grimace with a roll of her eyes..
“Shall it be a duel with swords?” The Prince of Arbor asked, as he impatiently gripped the bejeweled scabbard that hung by the side of his satin robe.
“No,” said the poor-but-wise-man. “For a man cannot rule only with his might.”
“Then it is a race to see who can provide the future queen with the most precious jewels,” said the strong and rich Prince of Lanti, his jewel-encrusted rings glinting in the sun as he confidently crossed his enormous arms over his fur-lined tunic.
“No,” said the poor-but-wise-man. “For man cannot live for money alone.”
The youngest prince, who was from the seaside kingdom of Belle, spoke up quietly, his eyes having that same piercing quality as the wise old man: “It will be a battle of wits then…” he said, his voice trailing off thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said the poor-but-wise-man. “For anyone can be rich, or strong, but only a few bother to do the hardest work of all, to think. Thinking is what will win my daughter’s hand. Riches and strength can both wax and wane with misfortune and circumstance, but the ability to think will ensure that my future son-in-law will thrive no matter what the future holds.”
“Four challenges must you pass”—and suddenly, a bright comet flew across the sky, writing words that the old man read aloud.
First: You must walk on water.
Second: You must hurl a tree over the high palace dome.
Third: You must stop your heart from beating.
Fourth: You must defeat the best swordsman in all three kingdoms, while you are blindfolded.
The Prince of Arbor cried “But old man, these tasks are impossible!”
The Prince of Lanti fumed, “This is not a battle of wits, but of strength or sorcery!”
The old man cut them off with a wave of his hand. “You have one year’s time in which to complete the challenges…be gone!”
The Prince of Belle said nothing, but turned and walked quietly away in the direction of the harbor. It was later heard that he had gone straight to the dock and purchased passage departing that very day on a fast ship to a distant land..
When the princess heard this news, she stroked her chin, deep in thought. “This is quite unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome news” she thought to herself.
A note from the author
Look for Part 2 next week as the first two princes attempt the challenges.
The adventure continues!!!
Copyright © 2020 Gerard A. Evanski. All rights reserved. Reproduction and distribution without written permission of the author is strictly prohibited.’