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Leadership parable: The transformation of Yūsuf

The desert is wide and vast, and so is the sky which stretches over it like an infinite umbrella. But far from arid is the civilization that exists under this sky, for the foundations of family and wealth are not unheard of in these parts. This is the setting of the tale of Yusuf the prophet- an Arabian story in the Quranic tradition.


Yusuf was the son of Joseph who was himself a prophet. Joseph loved his son dearly. Like the weary traveller would an oasis, or the parched earth the touch of rain after a long and dry summer. But Joseph’s brother’s were envious of this love their father extended to him. Though there is nothing to suggest that Joseph didn’t love all his 13 children equally, Yusuf’s brothers didn’t think so. So much so that they did misdemeanors like stealing their uncle’s shirt so that the blame would fall on Yusuf.

Like the center of whorls, Vision lies waiting within layers of confusion in the mind

It didn’t take long for the misdemeanours to escalate into something far graver. One of Yusuf’s brothers beat him up so hard that Yusuf's body became like a canvas on which a mad artist etched wounds. Even more seriously, the brother then pushed him into a deep, dark pit, the water in it far, far below the surface of the earth- as is the case in desert nations. Whether Joseph's brother waited at the edge of the pit to hear the the splash Joseph’s falling body made in the water or not, we never know. And even if he did, it’s easy to assume he would just have grinned at the sound.

We next observe the pit when a group of Egyptian merchants pass by it. One of them dismounts from his camel and come up to the pit and begins to draw water from it. Only, while doing so, he also pulls up Yusuf- still alive, still breathing.

The interpretation given by scholars to Yusuf emerging from the pit is that of a transformation. The darkness of the pit is symbolic of the darkness that covers the human soul, which blinds us to the beauty of existence, and to the opportunities for spiritual growth in front of us. In a modern organizational context, this darkness could very well mean the confusion which change agents feel at some point, regarding the direction in which they should lead a team. In other words, a blinding lack of vision.

The first transformation is personal- towards gaining vision. Then, the vision helps you lead the team on an organizational transformation.

Yusuf’s emergence into the light could be seen as gaining of vision- a mind lost in the dark chambers of confusion now seeing clearly the path you should lead your team on- like a flying eagle would a long road that stretches to the horizon.

The ancient tale goes on to say how the transformed Yusuf gained admirers for his spiritual beauty among the royalty and commoners alike. In many iterations of the story, the transformation is represented as physical, making his charm irresistible to the beholders.

The spirit of Yusuf’s transformation is something which Temenos salutes. And with Temenos Vision Lab(TVL), we offer change agents the chance for transformation that leads to the discovery of a True Personal Vision that they yearn for but rarely finds. You could find more details on TVL below.

More inspiring lessons from the tales could be enjoyed in the brilliant book, Stories of the prophets’ 

For change agents and leaders, not to benefit from meaningful events and gatherings is a missed opportunity! We invite you to indulge in some of the most transformational events from Temenos; designed with hard-earned understanding, organized just for you.

Temenos Vision Lab- Online ( June 29, 2018)

We invite you to this special gathering, which brings together a group of wonderful people who fill workplaces with joy and energy. By connecting with each other, you embark on a journey that leads to better clarity about the changes you seek, gain collaboration opportunities and leave with a concrete action plan.

Temenos Vision Lab- Amsterdam, Netherlands( Nov 2, 2018)

Another venue to take an exquisite inner journey, to find your true Vision.

Temenos Effect Gathering 2018- Bengaluru, India(Dec 8 to Dec 9, 2018)

An event dedicated to the idea of personal mastery, for nurturing your beautiful self, for change agents and leaders to become their true selves.

For more details, visit our website - https://www.visiontemenos.com/events


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