During my desperate studies trying to find solutions to my daily problems, I stumbled across the legend of the Gordian Knot.
The year was 333 B.C., and Alexander the Great was plowing through the countryside, conquering everything in his path. He came upon the capital city of Gordium in what is now Turkey. Tied to the city’s gates was a wagon that once belonged to King Gordius, the father of the famous King Midas. The knot was rumored to be impossible to untie. The knots wove in and out and back upon itself, and no one could ever find the end to start the unraveling process. Supposedly, an oracle had prophesied over the knot.
“The man who loosens this knot will rule all of Asia.”
Centuries later, these words would appeal to an ambitious young warrior named Alexander. When his armies marched upon the city, Alexander was compelled to try his hand at the fabled knot. In his pomp and testosterone-fueled arrogance, he tore at the problem with all his might until he burnt out. Then in a moment of wisdom, he stepped back and began to look at the situation objectively. Inspiration hit the young man, and he withdrew his sword. With one quick swipe of the blade, the impossible knot was opened.
What happened to Alexander during this ordeal? One might say he cheated, but in reality, the prophecy never said how the knot was to be loosened. Sometimes we overcomplicate things in our emotional state. If we can step back and view the problem objectively, a solution will often come to us.
As long as Alex thought the problem was impossible, he was unsuccessful. The moment he realized there was a simple solution, he sliced open the Gordian Knot. What does this mean for us? Simply put, if you think there’s no answer, no answers will come. Once you decide that there’s an answer, you will start to look at the problem differently, and a solution will come. It all goes back to the story you tell yourself in that little head of yours.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford
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