Wisdom in the oddest of places

I found some wisdom in the oddest of places this morning. Until today I had not noticed the little paper tags on my ginseng tea bags contain mindful prompts. Mine said “Joy is the essence of success” and my partner’s said “Let things come to you”.

I realise that one could skate passed this statement, taking it to mean that we, in the literal sense, feel the essence of joy when we succeed. But notice the phrasing here is the other way round. So, taking the second tea-bag-tag’s advice, I allowed what follows to come to me…

Success in moments

I quite liked the thought that a focus on joy is what a version of success might look like. To feel uplifted in even a moment can still be a success, even if the moment is fleeting. Sometimes I think there is a strong pull to look at the big picture and how far there is left to travel. But if the journey is the thing to focus on, we perhaps need to acknowledge the small moments that feel like a rising, or even just peace. A moment of peace might be a success.

Instead, try allowing

The notion of letting things come to you also feels like a good link. Rather than chasing the result, we occupy a state of allowing. Allowing an unfolding to occur. In a world where overwhelm and endless to-do lists are a great source of stress, it can feel hard to create the mental space for allowing things to come to us. This is also a big challenge for any creative person who has the worry of when their next piece of inspiration will strike. This means we can chase or try to force ideas and solutions.

“But what about things that need to be done urgently?” you may ask. Yes, of course there are those times where reacting and responding feel like the right thing to do. But, take this with you

Urgency and emotions

There is evidence in emotion theory that operating from a stressed or negative emotional state actually narrows your focus to a specific set of actions matched to your state. These can drive quicker decision-making yes, but not necessarily as innovative or mindful a decision if you we’re in a more positive frame of mind.

On the other hand, positive emotions have been shown to broaden our focus, making more information available to our cognitive processing. This is why there are good links between positive mindset and effective decision-making. It is from here that we can create things we might not be able to even think of in a different mental state.

Just a few thoughts. Quite sweet to have such a lovely prompt from a mere tag on a ginseng teabag… I can see myself saying something in the future resembling, “Well, as a wise teabag once told me, Joy is the essence of success…”

Ed Midson


  1. Rebecca 22 February 2021 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Lovely little story, made me want to go out for a walk and notice all the little things!
    Also, I noticed the following typo at the end: Well, as a *wide* teabag once told me, Joy is the essence of success…”

    • Ed Midson 2 March 2021 at 11:23 am - Reply

      Thanks so much for noticing the typo. I have corrected this 🙂

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