Stop pushing

Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thomas Crum gives seminars on how to use aikido philosophy in daily business life. He calls what he teaches "the magic of conflict."

Scott remembers being there during one of the demonstrations Crum gave. Crum had someone come to the front of the room and stand up in front of him.

"Put out your hand like this," said Crum as he put his hand up as if taking an oath, touching the student's upraised hand. The student just naturally, automatically reacted by pushing back.

Crum said, "That's the natural way of human beings. I push, you give me resistance. You push back." Then, he asked the student to extend his hand in the form of a fist. He did, and then Tom Crum put his hand in a closed fist in front of him and they both pushed against each other. Each first pushing the other.

"This is the way we experience life a lot," said Crum. "Just like this. A stalemate or struggle, where I'm trying to win or you're trying to win. In aikido, we don't ever resist."

Right at the moment Crum dropped his fist down, and instantly the volunteer pushed right by him (and, in aikido, you turn in the direction of the person going by you). Crum turned with the volunteer and guided him quickly and gently to the floor.
Crum said, "Now, this is aikido. I no long resist, so we're no longer fighting. And guess what? We're in perfect alignment so it's very easy for me to direct this person wherever I choose him to go. And that's how aikido works."

In fact the words "ai ki do" mean blending our inner forces, not force against force. And every move in aikido comes to that point, where both the aggressor's ki and my ki are blended. Right at that point, we we're in alignment, I have control over the other person and what happens to him and his body. Totally. It takes no effort. Because we're in complete alignment.

The application to motivating others is profound because I don't really want to resist what my people are doing or saying. I want to guide their natural inner energy toward a mutual goal, theirs and mine. I want to receive and guide my people's natural energy...I don't want to oppose it or make it wrong.

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