“Something seems to be bothering you today Rhea!”, said Gregor as he watched his daughter being deeply thoughtful. “Some interactions at work, I don’t want to talk about it”, she said, “…yeah well, it doesn’t hurt to say, I have had a very difficult conversation with someone today”.
“Well, that’s common at work, isn’t it? having differences in opinion makes it interesting”, Gregor clicked his tongue as if he has tasted something sour.
“That’s not what I am upset about, I had this feeling that I wasn’t able to bring out the real message that the individual wanted to convey. The conversation felt incomplete. I am not sure if it’s fear, I hope to God it’s not! I can’t imagine someone being afraid of ‘me!’ of all people…”, Rhea paused to see if Gregor was listening or playing with Ashi and ignoring her. “I am listening”, he said, as if acknowledging her concern. “Yeah! so I am sure I didn’t…ah leave it…it felt as if…” , Rhea was looking for words. “…as if you were speaking with someone in a shell?”, Gregor asked. “Yes! that’s it, and what was spoken was to bypass the moment. It is not possible to make real progress without effective conversations”, Rhea announced and walked away to arrange for dinner.
“So do you want a story of the lost fish or the forgetful turtle by name Figet?”, Gregor asked Ashi. It was bed time and hence story time! “I think you will like the story of the turtle better”, Gregor said winking at Rhea. “OK I like turtles better than fish”, Ashi said as she tried to slid further under the covers, preparing herself for the treat.
“Once upon a time in a mystical forest lived a turtle by name Figet. No one knew how old Figet was, and the animals sure did think that Figet was at least a few hundred years old, but there was no way to find out. Figet was supposed to be magical and can speak with animals and humans too! It roamed the forest and was found by those in need of advice or desperate help. Figet had one mysterious problem though – he was very shy and forgetful. His power of knowledge was bestowed only when the creature seeking help could make Figet remember who he was and earned Figet’s trust. No one knew how to do this, although there were random stories of how Figet saved the day when there was trouble.”
“Tell me Rabbit, how did you get him to talk to you”, roared Bernard, the lion king. “I d.d.d.d.don’t know sire! my family was very hungry and we hadn’t eaten for days and Figet appeared from no where. I j.j.j.j.just told him that we are scared and need help”, said Mr. Rabbit. “You are lying, is that it? Figet doesn’t speak easy, tell me exactly what you said”, demanded Bernard. “S.s.s.s.si..si..sire”, stuttered the scared Rabbit. “Oh stop that and speak clean or I will eat you”, Bernard grew impatient. “I j..j..just, no, it was he, he s..s..said that he was scared too and asked where he was. I told him that he is safe with us and there is nothing to be worried about. And then I told him that we have heard several stories about him and how he is wise and powerful”, paused Rabbit trying to catch his breath.
“Then what?”, asked Bernard. “Then s.s.sire he slowly got his head to the entrance of his huge shell and said he has no friends. My children told him that we could be his friends and we will keep him happy. He smiled and brought his head out completely. He then asked what was our worry. We asked for some food”, concluded Rabbit. “The great Figet shows up and you just ask for carrots??? you fool”, thundered Bernard. “Get out of my sight before I snack you out”.
“Papa, Ashi is asleep, now can you please tell me where you are taking me with this story?”, Rhea asked suspiciously. Gregor started laughing, but controlled it trying not to wake up Ashi. “Alright, this story was for you, let me continue then”, he smiled.
The Lion king wanted to grab hold of Figet and become more powerful. “Your ancestors got the counsel of Figet when there was great famine in the mystical forest, O King!”, said Cunny, the jackal minister. “I heard that before, but I need to know how to make him appear first and then I will ask him to give me powers, make me immortal”, Bernard growled. “Unless you show that you have a genuine need, Figet won’t appear, you need to speak humble sire”, Cunny lowered his voice not to upset the Lion, “and each time he appears, his memory gets reset, get him out of his shell completely sire and you will be bestowed with what you want!”. “Stop your sermon! I know all that! He has been last sighted beside the jingle brooks, I am headed that way now”, Bernard hurried to the brook.
“Oh I am in distress! I wish I had someone to help me”, Bernard started to make loud wails and the smaller suspecting animals ran away looking at this. “I may die now if I don’t receive attention, how I wish I had help”, he continued to roam around the edge of the brook. After a while, a shell that resembled hard granite covered with green moss appeared before him moving slowly, “Who goes there, where am I, why are you upset?”, Figet asked. “I need help, can you please show yourself, I need to talk to you”, hurried Bernard. Figet stopped moving, “who are you, where am I, I am scared”, Figet sounded very scared. ‘What! Is this the crazy turtle that is supposed to be powerful!’, thought Bernard. “Why are you scared, I won’t eat you obviously, I need your help”, Bernard clearly sounded menacing. “I don’t know, I feel like I am going further deep inside my shell”, Figet sounded almost muted. Bernard realized his mistake “Wait! wait! wait! I didn’t mean to scare you. You are ‘The Figet’, the wisest turtle of all time and only you can help me. You have helped my ancestors and you have super powers and that sort of thing, you know!”. But before he could finish, Figet vanished from the place. Bernard was mad at his failure. He announced that Figet is a myth and if ever anybody spoke about Figet, they will be punished severely.
After several hundred years more, the mystical forest slowly faded out of memory of the civilization that grew around it. There was a kingdom not very far from the forest ruled by a good king. Once the king came to roam the forest with his guard and was lost in a storm. It was told that Figet appeared before the king to save him. That was the last sighting of him in a long time. “I saw the turtle, it appeared out of no where and was reluctant to speak. I had to be very respectful, friendly and kind. When he asked me what I wanted, I requested him to tell its tale and what a fascinating tale it was!”, said the dying King to his son. “If ever you get lost, remember the turtle and may you find the right means to bring him out of his shell to help you”, he said.
As fate would have it, there was treachery in the kingdom and the prince was ousted from the throne by his uncle. He had to flee the country and seek refuge in the dark forest. The guards that chased the prince let go of him when they saw him entering the forest, “this forest is dark and mysterious, the prince will not last a night in there”, they told each other and left him. The forest indeed was extremely melancholy and dreadful. The prince was alone and scared. “My own people turned against me! Father did warn me that wealth & power can corrupt any man! What do I have to live for further?”, he told himself. He wandered the forest aimlessly hoping that some hideous creature would spring from somewhere and kill him. But as the night gave way to the day, bright light flooded the forest floor and the prince realized that his eyes were feasting on the most beautiful scenes of his lifetime. The prettiness of the forest exploded as the veil of darkness lifted and he forgot his problems completely in an instant.
“Who goes there?”, came a soft voice. The prince thought it was a huge flat boulder covered with green moss moving slowly towards him. “Here comes the monster finally!”, he thought and smiled. “I am the prince of this kingdom, you can have me whenever you want creature”, he replied calmly. “Where am I, is it a safe place?”, spoke the rock. “You are in the most beautiful place possible, I am sorry, you don’t seem to be having the eyes to see, do you want me to describe it to you, what it looks like?”, offered the prince with a kind voice. “Hmm, it has been a while someone showed kindness to me”, said Figet and the prince saw a pair of intense green eyes appear from the hollow of the rock. “I can see well, I just don’t remember who I am and what am I doing here, I might be looking for a friend…”, said Figet looking very lost and looking at the prince suspiciously.
The prince remembered his father’s last words. “Could it be that you are the ‘great turtle’ that helps the needy? Your name is Figet and you have helped my father sometime ago”, said the prince. “I am alone in the forest and who better than you to give me company, I have no friends too”, he said. Figet wasn’t fully convinced for its head still remained concealed. “Can you walk with me, are you really harmless and what have you called me ‘Figet’? seems familiar, tell me more, what can I do?”, Figet requested. The prince bowed slightly and said “my honor! I have heard about you from my father, and he heard it from yourself, here goes your story…”, the prince narrated what he remembered from his father about the turtle.
During the next several days, the prince took care of Figet, narrating his story and ensuring that no harm came to Figet. Finally after sometime, Figet brought his head out completely and regained his full glory. “O prince! looks like you have done well to restore my memory, you have given me what it takes to draw me out of my shell, tell me what you seek”. “Dear friend! I seek nothing but your friendship, as I have told you the day I met you”, the prince replied. “I see! but you have a need, what is rightfully yours have been taken away from you by treachery. Take this sword and win back your kingdom, but to win back your people fully, you would need the FIGET”, smiled the Turtle as it handed over a dazzling sword to the prince. “But I have you, have I not Figet?”, asked the Prince. “Did I not tell your father, what Figet truly stands for?”, smiled the Turtle. “Listen carefully to what I have to say, for I do not know if you will find me again and if you can draw me out of the shell again…”
Gregor paused and looked at Rhea. “Wow! I have a feeling that I understand your story, but I’d love to hear it from you. Where were you going with all this? What has an uncomfortable conversation at work got to do with mystical forests and shy forgetful turtles? explain papa”, Rhea asked, “and what was the turtles reply to the question from the Prince, what does Figet stand for?”.
“You know, you sometime beat Ashi with your questions”, laughed Gregor.
“Figet of course stands for Friendliness, Importance(respect), Gratitude, Environment and Trust. One needs to be friendly to deal with the turtle’s shyness, give importance – explain to the turtle who he was, show gratitude for what he did, create an environment which Figet could open up to and gain trust to be able to draw him out completely from his shell and evoke the power that Figet carried! can you make any connection now?”, Gregor smiled.
“Yes I do! to be able to draw the best from others we need the FIGET, right? else what you get is not the best of what they have?”, Rhea enquired.
“Yes and the difficult part is that most of the times, the individual you are speaking with may not know what he/she is capable of. Hence it is important to give perspectives to help them get out of their shell completely, tell them what they are capable of, create an environment of trust and win them over. It is hard work but this is when you will be showered with magic from their side! This is true, may be more so sometimes, when applied to senior people as well. In this case, the elements of mutual trust, importance (what’s in it for them/see me proposition) & gratitude (what will they get in return) will play a role. Figet’s character that way is more applicable to a senior executive/subject matter expert who probably doesn’t remember you unless you make your mark. And it would take much more than one conversation”, Gregor explained.
“And the final inference from the story – this is true when we apply it, even to ourselves!”, Gregor reflected.
“How? Do you mean to say we don’t always give the best to ourselves and remain in our shell? I guess we do, now that I say it aloud!”, now it was Rhea’s turn to get reflective. “That’s right. And for us to be able to break out of the shell we live in, we need to talk to ourselves and apply the same FIGET rule. And not be too hard on ourselves, try it, it works. Faith & Courage go well with the recipe of FIGET by the way”, Gregor laughed again.
“Thanks papa! I will remember FIGET. What if the other person is unable to break out of the shell despite of my best FIGETs or doing it on purpose?”, Rhea looked confused. “Well, at least you would have tried your best. FIGET yourself, you are better than you think you are!”, smiled Gregor and bid her a good night.
— The characters in the above narrative have been first introduced in “The Soul Whisperers“. Gregor is a senior executive in a company, Rhea is his daughter, a manager in a different firm and Ashi is Rhea’s daughter.