Coworking Zen: Where to put your focus?

    There is a great Zen parable about a young boy who lived in a hidden village atop the Himalayas. This boy dreamed of becoming the world’s greatest warrior and to study under the village master. 

    One day the boy approached the master with great curiosity and asked him. “Master, if I wish to become a great warrior like you, how long would it take for you to train me?” The master gently stroked his beard and replied, “10 years.” 

    “10 years!” The boy thought, this was much too long to become such a master. The boy retired to his home to think about a new solution.

    The following day he returned and asked the master, “Master, if I was willing to train twice as much and twice as hard, how long would it take?” The great warrior grinned and replied, “20 years.”

    “20 years!!” This was not the answer the boy expected, and once again he retired to his home and thought deeply about the answer provided.

    The boy had thought of a solution and approached the master for a final time. “Master, I am willing to give you every moment of my wakefulness. 24/7 I will not sleep and devote myself to every word you say. Now, how long would it take for me to become a warrior such as yourself?”

    The great master warrior grinned and responded, “40 years.”

    “40 years!!!” Responded the boy. “That makes no sense, what is the logic behind that?”

    The master looked deep into the eyes of the boy and replied, “When one eye is on the target, then only one eye is on the journey.”


    We all set our eyes to the top of the mountain looking at the great masters (world class organizations, athletes, politicians) wishing to become them. Although it is great to set our goals high, by keeping one eye at the top, we remove ourselves from present from what is right in front of us; our work, our clients, employees, etc. 

    In the coworking world, we surround ourselves with excellent people and organizations who are driven to bring themselves to the top, increasing our personal drive to get to join them there. Yet, one of the greatest lessons taught in the world of Zen is about being completely committed and present to the 'now'. The more we do this, the faster we will find ourselves atop that mountain; as we become focused on delivering product and not just the glory that awaits at the peak. This can be practiced by focusing on the conversation you're having with your friend, releasing disappointment and frustration from past failures, and simply allowing the future to present its challenges.

    Stay driven, focused, and enjoy your climb to the top.