The Room of 1,000 Demons


Have you heard of the room of a thousand demons?

A friend told me about it at just the moment I needed it.

My payroll person had quit. Then before we filled the opening, my benefits manager – the payroll backup – quit.

My HR admin was the backup for both. I really needed her help figuring out how we were going to make it through the next few weeks.

But as stressed as I was (and that’s rare for me!), she wasn’t even able to think rationally at that moment.

Enter my friend and his story. “Ah,” he said, after listening to my tale. “She’s in the room of a thousand demons.” Huh? “What, you don’t know that story?”

As it goes, there was once a monastery, to which monks traveled great distances in order to go through THE BIG TEST. Some spent their entire lives studying and preparing.

The test was to pass through the room of a thousand demons and come out the door on the other side.

When asked about it, monks who had successfully passed the test said all that studying had been helpful, but in the end there were only two lessons that made the difference.

The first was,

“No matter what you see, remember it’s not real.”

The second, and even more helpful than the first, was,

“No matter what else you do or think, remember to keep putting ONE FOOT in front of the OTHER.”

Of course we made it through our own ordeal. Payroll somehow got done and the open positions somehow got filled.

The story has become part of how I think about and deal with stressors of all kinds.

I hope you’ll think of it the next time you need it.

Lorri Anderson

Lorri Anderson

Lorri Anderson is an expert consultant to businesses and a powerful coach to individuals. After a long and rich career as a strategic HR executive, she is driven to give back by changing the Human Experience in today’s workplaces, one business or human at a time.

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