Timeless Leadership Wisdom From “The Lens Grinder”

Lens Grinder

One of the great influences in my life has been my long-term relationship with an old sage that I met quite by accident. 

I know him as the “Lens Grinder.”

My Old Sage

He is a true Big L Leader and spiritual teacher who helps guide my career and life through hours of coaching, reflection, mindfulness teachings, and instruction in right actions.  This mystic philosopher, spiritual intuitive and loving friend has taken me deep into “Self, ego, shadow” and to the brink of the absolute truth.

Evolving as an authentic leader and fully awakened person under his guidance has been the best of times and the worst of times but the payoff for me personally and professionally has been more than worth it.

“Be the most ethical, the most responsible, the most authentic you can be with every breath you take, because you are cutting a path into tomorrow that others will follow.”  – Ken Wilber

So here is a taste of the old sage’s wisdom focused on the area of our personal and professional development.  The key to learning the power of his simple wisdom is not to acknowledge, agree, or disagree but to practice and apply some or all of these teachings in your daily life and work or at least your version of them.

My Lessons Learned

The Lens Grinder teaches us…

  • We are owed nothing just because we are here.  Our precious birth is payment enough.
  • Remember, you are not alone on this journey unless you choose to be.
  • Everyone who chooses to help us, we will consider it a true blessing and be thankful.  If you do not feel blessed then your ego is showing.
  • With or without help, we alone are responsible for what we become and how our life/career turns out.  Our story and legacy is created as we live.
  • What we believe we are entitled to receive is only our ego telling us that we deserve to take more than we give and play the victim when don’t get everything we want.
  • It is not OK to play the victim.  So never allow yourself to play the victim; there are always better choices available.
  • We control much less than we think but no excuses will be accepted.
  • There will always be an increasing number of growth and development programs at all levels and an army of experts and gurus to show us the way.
  • Be prepared to find out that most are not nearly deep enough to insure that we will get what we really need and want.  I fear it will always be so.
  • Like a hot shower on a cold morning, these programs may not hurt you but the effects probably will not last long either.
  • Choose to make “true self” growth and development your total responsibility.
  • Decide that your transformation to your highest self is your responsibility and never anyone else.
  • You must follow a “know thyself” development path to find out who you are, why you are here, and to connect with the higher stages of consciousness.
  • Develop a serious spiritual practice.  You can choose Bibles, beads, or crystals from the vortex; it does not matter but for your own sake get into the game.
  • You do not have a choice in this area of growth and development if you hope to live a fully awakened life rather than living in the dream with the sleepwalkers.
  • Accept that impermanence is the one thing that we all share.  It is in our fear and denial that we can hear spirit faintly saying, “just wake up.”
  • Life is not fair.  OK, so you have heard that one.  Then stop insisting that the world be different than it is.
  • When you choose to make yourself upset and miserable, you are caught up in your own drama and performing your unique personal form of whining.
  • With knowledge of self and hard work, you can stop the misery or you can wallow in it, if you prefer.  It is a weakness of character to wallow in it.
  • Despite the many challenges and uncontrollable events in life, we are obligated to do our best in spite of the obstacles.

“What you can be you must be.”  Abraham Maslow

  • The world could care less about our reality.  Would we really want it any other way?
  • Being and becoming, evolving and growing, shucking and jiving, whooping and hollering, slipping and sliding, wishing and hoping – life presents itself once to each of us.
  • What are we called to do and be?  Would one taste of absolute truth convince us of the profound truth of how our stories end?  Would it matter?
  • Ambition and high expectations in pursuit of a noble purpose brings passion to our lives and our work.  So think big and pursue great things.  Just be kind to yourself when you fall short or fail and know that you will fall short and fail because that is the way the game is played.
  • In chasing your goals, do not lose sight of your intent.  Right actions do not stray too far from their original intent.
  • In following your maps and models, remember tools that can help you can also trap you.  Falling into ego and role traps makes fools of us all.
  • When you discover what really matters to you, build your base there, act with integrity, loving kindness, and a compassionate heart, and hope some good cards fall your way.  Is being alive great or what?
  • Resolve to do your best to present your highest self in being in the world.  And, never forget, that no one gets out alive.  Not me, not you, no one!

I hope these insights gained from mentoring with the Lens Grinder are somewhat helpful to our current and developing leaders.  Comments welcomed! I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Doug Ramsey is Managing Director at Designed Management, LLC
He serves with Company Building, Growth, Leadership Development, and Coaching
Email | LinkedIn | Web

Image Sources: terawarner.com


6 responses to “Timeless Leadership Wisdom From “The Lens Grinder”

  1. Doug — This is a wonderful post, full of truth, insights and depth. Not only is it going in my “reference” file, it’s also being forwarded to 3 or 4 people whom I’m coaching. Invaluable! Thnx.


    • Thank you Scott. You are very kind. I am glad the “Lens Grinder” wisdom resonates and thank you for reading my blog. Best, Doug


    • Thank you Scott. You are very kind. I am glad the wisdom of the Lens Grinder resonates with you. Thank you for reading my blog

      Best wishes, Doug


  2. Great comments as always, Doug. But I am left in suspense… Who is the lens grinder? Keeping with the metaphor, I must say that when I take off my ego glasses “I see” the world (and self) with much greater clarity…. ever-present awareness.


    • Hi John,

      Thanks for the kind words. The next time we have time to catch up (soon), I will tell you the story. I hope all is well…




  3. Thanks, Doug. It really does come down to the fundamental truths manifested in the Lens Grinder’s teachings. Find a mentor or mentors to help you on your journey; seek other travelers to join you and help you overcome the inherent barriers to self-discovery. The rewards are priceless, not just in terms of the inner peace you gain, but the changes that occur as a result of the way you engage with those closest to you.


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