The Way

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Jul 20, 2022 by Sean Luce

You’ll have to be in a real quiet place to understand this article. And you’ll have to switch your mindset to “Eastern thought” to understand the book I mention below. You might not understand it at all, and that’s fine too. Even if you don’t understand “Eastern thought,” you can still take away some gems from this.

A couple months ago, a friend of mine called to check up on me. Good timing, I needed the check-up. The group he helped finance had brought me in to do sales training for their company a few years back. He sat in the back of the room observing me and taking notes as I instructed and demonstrated to the salespeople and management.
The day after the sales seminar, we had a Saturday morning session for management only. He was the one who schooled me that day with wisdom and knowledge for management and we’ve kept in touch since then. Over the years, he helped me put together a case study for sales management on finding the “oil leaks” in your sales department. You won’t find his book at the local bookstore. You’ll just have to contact him for a copy. His name is Joel Martin Hartstone.

In martial arts, if you have some special masters, they will also teach you “The Way” -- in meditation and focusing on your one purpose, or what they call your bushido. Joel’s book is a management book – a short one, and it’s meant to be short. It’s written in the tradition of the ancient Zen Koans in Haiku, which is a poetic form of Japanese: three lines of five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables. It’s written for you to go back over them again and again to understand their meaning -- much like working on your forms in martial arts. And then there will be that day when you run across it and finally get the real meaning of The Way. To help you, here is a quote from the introduction of the book from Joel.

“Because some principles of life also work in reverse, the Koans are meant to be read both forwards and backwards. Above all, they must be pursued in harmony, remembering that the first Koan always applies. Some will seem inconsistent with others, but that is the nature of The Way. In every pursuit, you must come to peace with how conflicting interests, your own and those of others, are optimized to create a harmonious equilibrium.”

Here are a few of the “Themes from human nature for managing yourself and others” from The Way. (I will write these in one line each, but remember they are actually three lines of verse.)

•         Doing it yourself, deprives others of learning, and yourself enslaves.
•         Never “not that way,” nor “just this way,” but always a goal and a way.
•         Never clone yourself, your ways are represented, seek new perspectives.
•         Murphy’s Law applies, would you like to consider, backups for backups?
•         Is best really best, if the marginal gain is, unsustainable?
•         You can own assets, you can’t own a company, people won’t be owned.
•         Teach using small words, don’t frustrate learning with your, vocabulary.
•         Partners share the gain, but they share the risk as well, that’s how you can tell.
•         There’s no “just try it,” either you will have done it, or you will not have.
•         If your time’s all spent, running something day-to-day, can you lead the way?
•         When what was assumed, comes to pass as predicted, stay true to your plan.
•         The horse will know the, rider is untrained and be, uncontrollable.
•         Keep my secret? Yes, Keep my secret? Yes, I will, Keep my…I heard that.
•         If you must do things, others disapprove, don’t rub, their noses in it.
•         You must account to, the person watching when you, look in the mirror.
•         Measure your success, by the success of the folks, you’ve left in your wake.
•         I would have done thus. Why is it they do elsewise? Because, they’re not you.
•         Marketing. One truth, give the people what they want, nothing else will do.
•         With a good costume, a horse looks like a camel, don’t try the desert.
•         “How do I do it?”, often means “show me the way,” don’t tell, demonstrate.
•         Only the young know, all there is to know of life, age teaches us that.
•         Time is currency, but we can’t count our balance, and we can’t make more.
•         Linear thinking, brings a risk of a kick in, the back of the head.
•         The difference is, that those who do it, do it, and, those who don’t, don’t.
•         If you don’t decide, you decide you will accept, the default result.

I, of course can’t do Joel’s book any justice. Maybe some of those “Koans” will make sense for managing yourself and others in the ancient Zen Koan tradition. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Joel.

Here’s my one Zen Koan:
If you want Joel, then you must reach out to him, contact him yourself.

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group International and can be reached at



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