This comes today from Rod, the founder of Heron Dance.
It is written by Robert Muller, who was executive assistant to U Thant when he was Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Robert Muller writes:
"When I worked for him, U Thant was for me not only the Secretary General of the United Nations but also a master in the art of living. . . . I never heard him speak ill of another person. . . . I never heard him complain. Nor did I ever see him impatient or irritated. His capacity to endure the shortcomings and errors of other people was boundless. At nine or ten o'clock in the evening, after seeing dozens of visitors at quarter-of-an-hour intervals and after being bombarded by a succession of insistent problems, he was as calm and controlled as when he arrived in the office in the morning. Kindness, love, and understanding for his fellow humans were his sole motivations. Discipline and self-control were his ways.
Often, in the evening, when I presented him with a problem on which he was asked to make a decision, he simply remained silent. This was especially the case when difficulties arose between two heads of departments at the United Nations. Their memoranda requesting resolution often remained unanswered. U Thant was looking at me patiently with his kind eyes, hoping that I would understand his philosophy. And I finally did when one day I found myself holding the following language to two high officials, each of whom was looking to the Secretary General for total support:
"Can't you understand that U Thant will simply not make a decision in favor of either one of you? Your memoranda will be returned to you unanswered, no matter how often you raise the issue with him, unless you yourself take the initiative in proposing a common course of action. He feels that you know the answer to your problem much better than he does. You are well-trained and highly skilled officials. You are expected to solve problems, not to create them. The UN is preaching understanding and accommodation among nations. This is the least that can be expected from its officers. U Thant wishes you to understand that the solution rests between the two of you."
To my great surprise, the two officials agreed to a mutual solution within minutes. Both had thought of a common course, but it was to be tried only if neither could score a full victory over the other!"
Robert Muller, from Most of All They Taught Me Happiness