The Full Cup Syndrome
…The second mental block is commonly called the Full Cup Syndrome and it’s a condition males are particularly prone to but which women are not immune. It’s best describe by the following story:
It appears a young seeker of wisdom traveled to the remote reaches of the world to learn enlightenment from the master. But before the master would even consider teaching him, he invited the young man to participate in the tea ceremony.
So, they retired to the tea garden where the master began the much venerated tea ceremony, preparing the water mindfully, adding the tea leaves just so, etc. The master began pouring the tea into the young seeker’s cup, talking politely as he did so. As the cup began to fill, the student-to-be grew nervous, yet the master continued to pour. The cup filled to the brim, then the tea began to pour over the rim.
“Master, master,” cried the young man. “You are over filling my cup.”
Finally, with a smile, the Zen master stopped pouring the tea. “Yes, and you are like the cup; so full there is no room for enlightenment.”
Listening as though you already know everything that is being said is the listening of an already full cup, and boy, can it get in the way of the contribution others have for us. While it may sound amazing, I’ve found this to be true even in coaching relationships. Imagine paying someone to coach you in your life, and then mentally coming to the coaching session so full that you there’s no room for any new insights. It happens. Whenever we come to a relationship as a full cup, there’s very little opportunity of learning anything new or gaining new insights that will make a difference.
Interestingly enough, once again awareness goes a long way in eliminating this mental roadblock. Once we notice that we’re listening as though we already know everything, we can catch it, and let go of it. We can then begin to relate to the person who’s trying to contribute to us in a different way.