A young man went to his doctor, complaining of a great deal of boredom in his life, a feeling of restlessness. He said he is going through the motions, but he really didn’t care, everything is so routine and so mechanical that there is nothing exciting in life anymore.
First the Dr. asked the patient where was your favorite place as a child and what did you really like doing?
I loved the beach!
The Dr. prescribed 3 prescriptions and ask the patient to follow them for a day and not to read the next before the time spent with each instruction. The first to take at nine, next one at noon and the last one at three and spend the time alone at the beach without a I-phone, computer or company.
His first prescription had two words: “Listen carefully”
The patient was not happy and bored in one minute thinking he has to do this for 3 hours. Having heard the seagulls circling above the surf hitting against some rocks, he wondered what he could do for three hours. But he committed himself for this day and he began to think deeply on the idea of listening carefully. Suddenly he could hear different sounds he never heard before. He could hear different kinds of birds, and even hearing the sand crabs. It calmed his entire system and he became meditative, relaxed and peaceful.
The three hours passed and he needed to read his second prescription with three words this time: “Try reaching back”
He remembered many memories he had with his family over the years, playing on the beach with his brother as a child, remembering the clam bakes with his family and a lot of deep positive memories and feelings stirred up in him.
Three o’clock arrived and it was time to read his third prescription: “Examine your motives”
This was the hardest and the heart of the matter. He started looking inside introspectively and went through every facet of his life – all types of situations with all kinds of people. He made a very painful discovery: selfishness was his dominant trend. Never transcending himself, never identifying with a larger purpose, a worthier cause, he was always asking, “What’s in it for me?”
He had discovered the root of his ennui, his boredom, his lackluster life, his mechanical, ritualistic attitudes toward everything.
By following the three prescriptions, he had made some resolves about the course of his life from that moment on, and he had begun to change, to listen, try to understand before being understood and making a difference in somebody’s life. It gave him a sense of purpose and fulfillment and happiness in his own life.
(Story from Stephen R. Covey from his book “Principle Centered Leadership”)