Rule number 6

Every month I drive to Holland for a weekend, which gives me a few hours to listen to the radio and get some different news. The French radio is all in French but makes me feel good about myself for about 20 minutes in that I can still understand much of it. The Belgians always seem to have something about the Congo, their former colony. This time it was about a polio epidemic which I found rather disturbing, especially as I heard nothing about it in Holland or Britain.

In Holland I listen to a business news radio which had a story about rule number 6. I had never heard of it, but it comes from Wayne Dyer’s book “The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way”. Rule number 6 is described as follows:

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk.

The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?”

“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.’”

“Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.”

After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”

His host answers: “There aren’t any.”

I have not picked up the book yet but it is a good rule. I can remember many occasions where someone has come into my office in a complete flap. After they have explained the cause of the flap it generally turned out that matters could quite easily be resolved.

So in the event you or one of your team are flapping, and we all do from time to time, remember rule number 6.

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