Choosing the King's Carriage Driver

Once upon a time, the king of a mighty nation needed a driver for his royal carriage. The position was one of so much prestige that prospective drivers from all over the kingdom were eager to apply. So a contest was arranged to determine who should be selected for this honor. In the preliminary phase of the competition, a panel of judges would select the three most qualified candidates. Then on the final day, the king himself would choose which of these three would become the driver of the royal carriage.

The final day arrived, and to test the candidates the king selected a road that ran along the side of a high mountain. On one side of the road was a cliff that dropped straight down a thousand feet to a rocky bottom. Anything going over this cliff would surely be destroyed.

The first contestant was a driver of extraordinary skill. He was also very intelligent, and had spent days analyzing the road until he knew its every turn and pitfall. He mounted his carriage and whipped the horses to an incredible speed. He then steered the carriage toward the edge of the cliff and successfully guided it around the twists and turns of the road with the outer wheels a mere six inches from the edge of the cliff. The onlookers watched in awe. Never had they seen such skill and daring. Surely this man would be selected as the king's driver.

The second contestant was also an extremely skilled driver, and also very intelligent. He, too, had analyzed the road in great detail. He mounted his carriage and, like the first contestant, whipped the horses to a blinding speed. Slowly steering the carriage toward the edge of the cliff, he raced along the road with the carriage wheels only an inch away from the edge. The crowd went wild. They had never seen such skill and daring before, and there was little doubt that he would be chosen by the king.

The third contestant realized that he had a problem. He did not have the know-how to do a detailed analysis of the road the way the other drivers had; he also knew that he did not have the skill, or the nerve, to navigate his carriage along the edge of the cliff. So instead, he decided on a different strategy. He had learned all he could about the king's personality: his ambitions, his likes and dislikes, his hopes and fears. Mounting his carriage, he urged the horses into a leisurely gallop and steered them as far away from the edge of the cliff as he could.....And this was the driver the king selected.

Those with extraordinary skill or intelligence do not always win. Success often comes from having the foresight to see a problem in a broad perspective, while applying one's abilities to their fullest extent.