3 Things a Sage Always Avoids

Sometimes being a sage is about what you DON’T do.

#1. Don’t cast pearls before pigs.

Never treat unmotivated learners the same as motivated. Hunger motivates pigs to seek food, but when their bellies bulge, they lay in the mud. They don’t want change. They want confirmation.

When you realize you’re dealing with a pig say, “Oh, I see you already know what you should do about this. I shouldn’t have offered my suggestions. Please feel free to keep me informed on your progress.”

2 ways to spot a pig:

  1. Pigs always look for the next thing to gobble up. The solution you provide is never quite good enough.
  2. Pigs seem enthusiastic until it’s time to change something.

#2. Don’t include timid learners with pigs.

The difference between pigs and timid learners is resistance. Pigs gobble up your solutions and find fault. The timid need time and courage to try something new.

Show patience and compassion with the timid. Allow pigs to wallow in their own mud until they’re ready to change.

Don’t include fearful novices with resistant pigs. The timid need a safety net. Pigs need to struggle in the mud longer.

#3. Don’t minimize problems.

Give solutions AFTER defining problems. A solution without a problem is a good idea. A solution to a big problem is a mandate to action.

The bigger the problem, the more valuable the solution and the wiser the advisor.

Don’t say, “That’s no big deal,” to a struggling novice. Instead ask, “What’s painful about this situation?” Allow pain to be painful – so that solutions feel like an opportunity.

Recall the frustrations in your past. Tell stories about your struggles but don’t focus the conversation on yourself.

Ask, “What will it feel like to solve this problem?”

What does a sage avoid doing?

How do you deal with resistant pigs?


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