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Leo Tolstoy once wrote a short story about a king who was certain that if he knew the best time to act, the right people to do business with and the most important thing to do at all times, then he would never fail in any task that he took on.

He proclaimed to the kingdom that he would richly reward anyone who could give him the answers to each of these questions.

Many wise men came to him with proposed answers, but they all differed and the king wasn’t satisfied with any of them, so the reward went unclaimed.

Eventually, the king decided to seek out a hermit who was renowned for his unparalleled wisdom.

He knew that the wise hermit only met with common folk, so he dressed himself in ordinary clothes, left his bodyguards behind, dismounted from his royal horse and went to see him alone.

The king sat down with the hermit and asked his three questions:

  • When is the best time to act?
  • Who is the most important person?
  • What is the most important thing to do?

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