Once upon a time there was a successful knight. He lived in a beautiful and prosperous kingdom whose old king was wise and just, as had been his predecessors for many generations. From all over the kingdom people came to court with their quarrels and questions. The king sat on the throne all day and ruled, decided, guided and advised. Everybody was very happy with this arrangement, because this way most of the problems were solved. And even when sometimes they were not, people didn’t blame the king, but happily came back to him and asked him what to do in the new situation.
The knight had been at court several times, too. But each time he went there it made him feel a sting of envy against the king. The man just sat there and everything fell into place. The knight, by comparison, spent all day walking around on his estate and in the nearby village, commenting on this, advising on that, and answering yet another question. But people didn’t really welcome him, or carry out what he said, especially those outside the estate, although most of the time it turned out afterwards that it would have been better to do it his way. He was right more often than the king himself, but with much less effect! It was really unnerving.
Over the years, the knight developed a deep hatred for the king. So one day he called in a group of PR people and an army of mercenaries, and started a revolution. Backed by the effective methods of his helpers, he managed to drive the king and his feeble guards from the castle and take over.
At once he introduced many reforms. There was now a council, where he invited intelligent people from all over the country to exert their influence over the rule of everything.
The knight himself started a routine of travelling the country, to be close to the people, and intervene on site.
And in a symbolic act, he ordered the large throne to be taken to the waste dump.
But oddly, things didn’t work out as planned. People didn’t address their questions to him or to the other wise men, but tried to take things into their own hands. Many of the things he decided were not implemented correctly. And people were very unhappy because there were a lot of contradictions, uncertainties and a lack of coordination.
At first, he thought he could master the situation by working harder, and being better at what he was doing. But to no avail.
So in an act of despair, the knight went to see the old king in his dungeon.
“Why doesn’t it work?” he exclaimed, “I know more and make better decisions than you did, but people don’t follow and things turn bad!”
The king looked at him with a weak smile. “I’m very sorry to hear that.”
“Well, thank you very much indeed. And what do you suppose I should do?”
“Have you ever sat on the throne?”
“Of course not! I had that dealt with at the very beginning.”
“You should have sat on it first.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s a bit late now. But let me just tell you what it is like to sit on the throne.
You feel it the moment you sit down.
It feels like you’re growing.
People treat you differently when you’re on the throne.
You look at them differently.”
He smiled at him.
“It’s all in the seat, you see?
The rest is just child’s play.”
Thanks to Markus for letting me experience the seat.
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