Empty Cup

xx IMG_0451 bw redAn influential and very critical consultant came to inquire from the Chief about the amazing things his fire department was doing.  The consultant was constantly on the lecture circuit, telling others how to run their fire departments and second guessing the actions of leaders.

Even with a probie and other firefighters nearby, the Chief personally put a pot of coffee on for the consultant. He then poured his visitor’s cup full and then kept on pouring. The visiting consultant watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup”, the Chief said, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations.  How can I show you enlightenment unless you first empty your cup?”

  • Anthony Correia

    great perspective

  • ironwarrior76 .

    Any credit being given to Bruce Lee for this reference?

    • http://firehousezen.com Michael “Mick” Mayers

      Sorry for not seeing your comment. It predates Bruce Lee- it is a variation on a traditional zen story. But it is just a lesson and I don’t take credit for making it up, just rephrasing it to suit the demographic I am writing to. Thanks for that insight!

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Michael "Mick" Mayers

Deputy Fire Chief - Operations Division for Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire Rescue and an Emergency Response Coordinator with the United States Department of Health and Human Services  National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Coordination Team.
Recent Posts
Comments
Colin Fanning
The Roto-Ray: Beauty or Beast?
One of the most important facts we reviewed when deciding on the roto ray purchase was this; With the speeds of traffic on SC 278, by the time people heard the sirens on our fire trucks our light bars (on top of the roof) were out of sight. The roto ray, with its mounted location…
2014-07-25 15:07:00
Mick Mayers
Questioning Heroism
Thanks, Bryan! I genuinely believe I do and they tend to reward me with professionalism, innovation, and compassion to our citizens daily. That's something I am happy to facilitate.
2014-07-15 04:10:00
Bryan G. Riebe
Questioning Heroism
Chief, appreciated in your response to Geoff that you work for the FFs. Believe if more Chiefs lived that philosophy our fire services would be bastions of honor, ethics, and human potential.
2014-07-15 00:05:00
Christopher Roy
Questioning Heroism
Geoff, EMS, as its own service, does not have a strong voice and in turn, does not get the respect in the media/public that it does deserve. I do hope that changes. EMS doesn't have a home either, and that doesn't help. There are so many different delivery methods in this country that its probably…
2014-07-14 23:49:00
Mick Mayers
Questioning Heroism
I'm sorry you feel that way, Geoff. The department I work with has been doing EMS (advanced care AND transport) with cross-trained personnel for over twenty years and doing a pretty good job. Our community expects a certain level of service that we have been able to provide through that model and while not every…
2014-07-14 22:01:00

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Although I am affiliated or employed by certain entities, I in no way speak in this forum or others on behalf of those entities unless I have specifically stated such. Any implication otherwise is doing so contrary to my agreements with those entities. The result is that the observations and opinions by myself or on behalf of Firehouse Zen are not sanctioned by any other entity other than Graffiti Train Sherpa Publications and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.

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