Rule Number 6

Two prime ministers were sitting in a room. Suddenly the door burst open and an aide ran in with an urgent message, tearing her hair out with anxiety. The host Prime Minister calmly turned to her and said, “Melissa, don’t forget Rule Number 6.” Immediately the aide relaxed, smiled and left the room. A few minutes later a junior minister rushed into the room, all worked up about some issue. “Jonathon,” cautioned the Prime Minister, “Don’t forget Rule Number 6.” At which the minister too was pacified and departed cheerily. It happened a third time, as it does in such stories, with the same result.

The visiting Prime Minister was fascinated by these encounters. “This is amazing,” he said to his host. “You must tell me, what is Rule Number 6?”

“Oh, that’s a simple one,” said the resident PM. “Rule Number 6: Don’t take yourself so goddamn seriously.”

“That’s a great rule,” said the visitor. “I must remember that. And tell me, what are the other rules?”

The host smiled. “There aren’t any,” he replied.

Extract from ‘The Art of Possibility’ by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander