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.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Recent Posts
Blinded by Sight November 7, 2014
And Yet It Moves October 27, 2014
Consider This October 18, 2014
Comments
NO TRASH TALKING FOLLOW-UP BY MICK MAYERS | Modern Fire Behavior
No Trash Talking – Follow Up
[…] Post originally found at and reposted with Authors Permission: http://www.firehousezen.com/2013/05/06/no-trash-talking-follow-up/ […]
2014-11-25 15:43:18
Andy Olesen
No Fun Here
I like the sentiment but I think the responsibility has to include everyone in the organization. The fire service has a paternalistic view of management and leadership. Ie one you have a bugle....... We adopted a military model of discipline and leadership from WW2. Our troops are not 19 year old boys that we have…
2014-11-23 13:58:00
Mick Mayers
And Yet It Moves
Thanks for sharing that perspective!
2014-11-07 10:56:00
Ruth
And Yet It Moves
Thank you. I'm not a firefighter, but have worked as a paramedic for a fire department for quite some time, and I'm married to a firefighter who likes to train. For years, while he studied fires and prepped training videos, I've been forced to watch YouTube video after YouTube video of fire scenes. Even before…
2014-10-29 02:59:00
Jason Sparks
And Yet It Moves
Very well stated sir!
2014-10-29 01:45:00

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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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