Many years ago I found that the best way to conduct a meeting was to remain calm when harsh words were thrown at you, and I learned a lot from trying to feed my dog who was not too interested in eating "Eat!" I would shout at my German -Shepherd, "Come on eat I'm getting late!"

And my dog would stare with a stubborn look on canine face. That's when I found a method, far better; that when I remained calm, Jeff obliged and polished off his meal.

It's a simple example but in the famous book Moby Dick, portraying the whaling industry of his time, the author teaches us something about the power of being calm and cool just before getting something done:

Melville gives us a turbulent scene in which a what sails across a frothing ocean in pursuit of the great white whale. The sailors are labouring to keep the vessel on course in a raging sea, every muscle taut.

They labour furiously as they concentrate on the task at hand. In Captain Ahab's boat, however, there is one man who does nothing. He doesn't hold an oar; he doesn't perspire; he doesn't shout. He is languid - utterly relaxed, quiet and poised. This man is the harpooner, and his job is to patiently wait for the moment.

Then Melville gives us this sentence: "To ensure the greatest efficiency in

the dart, the harpooners of this world must jump to their feet out of idleness, and not out of toil!"

What a marvellous picture for effective living!

It's like saying, 'You want to earn results, be idle!'

Those who would live each day to the fullest must prepare for them from a state of idleness rather than toil. For many people this means a daily period of quiet and meditation to focus, plan or pray.

Self- help expert Brian Tracy calls it an indispensable daily time of planning and preparation. He suggests that we devote a full hour to being alone every morning. That is when we set our daily priorities so that we, and not events, are in charge of our lives.

"I don't have time for that!" Some people complain. "My life is simply too busy to add one more thing to it."

But most people find that a regular period of idleness to chart the day's course, still the mind, listening and preparing, actually creates more time than it takes. For we are most effective when we jump to our feet out of idleness and not out of panic.

I guess it works because the harpooner always got his whale and my dog Jeff ate his food! So if you're planning to get something done, maybe conduct a difficult meeting, be still, before the kill..!"

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