Chapter I – Part 3

$ I will never ever master English. I promised to do so many things over Easter and I finished scarfing out.

$ Are you disappointed with your progress in English?

$ I’m bloody disappointed! And I feel devastated because I am a CEO for 5,000 people and when I tell them what they are supposed to do they obey me because they want to work with me. They know that obeying me plus constructive, if any, remarks is a prerequisite for our cooperation. And I don’t fulfill this condition in terms of cooperation with myself.

$ Do you add to that the imaginary pressure of those subordinates whose English is very fluent?

$ O, yes! I can almost see them laugh at me when I sweat like a pig murdering the King’s English. This is a paradox: when I hire people, English is a must and I don’t meet this requirement.

$ The full doesn’t exclude the paradox.

$ Hm.

$ Do you have a driving license for lorries?

$ I guess I know what you are pointing at: I don’t have many qualifications that my employees do but I think it is different with English. Nowadays, a command of English is like the A-level exam or computer literacy.

$ Tell me please whether such an approach to English motivates you.

$ Well, in fact, it doesn’t. What am I supposed to do about it?

$ Let me present today three kinds of exercise. The principle, as usual: you test them only when you feel like it. You check whether they support your life and you make a decision to practice them. Or not. As usual, it is only about you and about your decision. Ready?

$ Uhm.

$ Am I taking this right that there’s no enthusiasm in you when I suggest exercise from the shelf entitled “sharpening the blade”?

$ What was this whole sharpening the blade about anyway?

$ There was an exhausted woodcutter who kept wasting time and energy chopping wood with a blunt axe because he did not have the time, he said, to stop and sharpen the blade.

$ There’s something in this story. However, I am 55 years old, I have a load of work in my company, it is with much effort that I cut out 2 hours a week for my English and you, instead of teaching me the language, are offering series of exercise in my mother tongue.

$ I can feel your resistance. Let’s have a look at an example. Which sportsperson do you admire?

$ The ski jumper AB. When I watch him I feel as if I were flying in the air with him.

$ So, imagine that you are not the CEO of the company X anymore but that you are the ski jumper AB.

$ First I would have to lose about 100 pounds…

$ We can come back to the question of the body mass. So, in your imagination you are now the ski jumper AB. Look, your world famous coach is coming to you and he is telling you that he’s adding yoga to your training program. Yoga? – you’re wondering. I’d understand gym, building muscle mass etc., but yoga? I hire you so that you teach me how to jump better and you want to waste my precious professional time for a yoga class?! Sharpening the blade. Is it clearer now what it means in our case?

$ It has always been clear but it’s different with yoga. Did I tell you I had been going to yoga classes since fall?

$ Yes, to Arthur. Why is it different to you?

$ Both yoga and jumping are sports.

$ There is always a difference. What you are seeking here, in my place, at the coaching class, is a change. Resistance to change seems to be biologically justified: since I can survive somehow having what I have, why change and take a risk to make it worse? Sometimes however a change can be necessary so that we leave a hell. Is it an infernal torture to be abroad and be totally dependent on your employee because he or she can speak a foreign language and I can’t? That was a rhetorical question. In spite of the fact that I’m getting ready for a change for better, whatever it means, the resistance remains.

$ Better a well-known hell than an unknown paradise.

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