When Emperor Yao (2356 – 2255 BC) was ruling China, he had been extremely humble and had asked everyone to give him a suggestion or even criticism.

Yao was worried that he was not making the most effective policies and people were afraid of the king and would not speak to his face. To encourage people to do so, Yao set up a drum outside of his house. When people want to speak out, they just need to hit the drum and let Yao know.

Yao was also worried that he might make mistakes. People might talk behind him and he could not know. So he put a piece of wood out of the door, and let others write about his mistakes on the wood. So that everyone can have the chance to point out his mistakes.

Yao was such a great emperor that he almost made no mistake. Even so, he was still open to any criticism.

However, what we can learn from this story is not that we should have a drum or a piece of wood to let people write about their opinions – this is only the surface. Instead, we should learn the spirit. Otherwise, whatever we do, they are nothing but showcases.


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