A Tree Falls in the Forest

If a tree falls in a park and there is no-one to hand, it is silent and invisible and nameless. And if we were to vanish, there would be no tree at all” — William Fosset

This saying was popularized by George Berkeley who believed that objects cannot exist without being perceived. If no one heard a tree fall in the forest, did it make any noise? If something happens outside the human perception, does it really happen?

Let’s talk about two inventors. One dreams up an idea for a new invention and shouts it from the rooftop. He talks about it to everyone he meets, and when he succeeds, no matter how trivial the success, he makes sure everyone knows about his passion. The other inventor also comes up with an idea; however, he does not tell anyone and keeps it to himself. His idea might have been brilliant, better and bigger, but he never told anyone. Did this idea exist? By not discussing his idea with anyone, the second inventor lost out on the opportunity to work together with those around him to make the idea come true. To make a difference in people’s lives, an idea has to be heard and realized.

The inventor of the wheel must have shared his invention to someone in order for it to be known and used by others. Where would we have been without wheels now? By involving people in a discussion, an idea can evolve and become more than just an idea. It can become something that can add value to the world around us. Think of all the inventions that are based on the simple concept of the wheel. How many people have used that one invention to further develop new products? It was a simple idea that one person allowed the world to see and experience when it started, and now it’s something we cannot imagine to live without.

In life, some people put their heads down and work so hard to cut down trees, but never look around, hoping that someone may hear it one day. But NO, good ideas did not promote themselves, and they get so frustrated and angry that no one acknowledges their accomplishment, feeling unfulfilled and self-doubt.

At the other extreme, some other people are so focused on been seen, been heard, justify their success “in front of an audience”. They even go so far to fake “sounds” so others would say, “Oh, he just knocks off another tree, great job!” Their success depends on other people, and they are insecure, inauthentic and fear that one day people will find out that they are imposters. Living on other validation and approval is formula for insecurity, pain and unhappiness.

A coach’s job is to be able to see the potential, to see the falling tree even if it is buried in the deep forest. A coach holds the vision and helps the client recognize and center on his/her highest self, and partners with the client to bring it out and to realize their dreams.

[Coaching Questions]

  • Are you a lone ranger?
  • How do you share your ideas with the world?
  • What does it take to make your dream a reality?
  • What’s stopping you from taking the first step?
  • Do you want to feel better than others, or to feel connected?
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