The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honour of working at his side.
‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’
Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose.
‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.
After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students.
Then he walked over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.
‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student.
‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved.
Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.
A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.
There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on.
At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’