Persistence Learned From Squirrels
I’m a big fan of Seth Godin. As a marketing guru he churns out content faster than Kerrygold Farms churns out butter – and it’s just as delicious! For real though, I think what really sets some people apart from the herd is that they are hard workers. There is a quote that says: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” The phrase was first coined by high school basketball coach Tim Notke. And I couldn’t put it better. There are a lot of talented people out there who coast through life and don’t maximize their abilities.
When I see people who are as successful as Seth, I can tell that his work ethic is strong. He writes blog content every single day and he is so popular that in order to find him online all you have to do is type “Seth” into Google and his blog is the first one that comes up. Gary Vaynerchuck is also a very successful marketer and strategist and he also creates content every day. Why is this important? Because I believe success comes through persistence. Being excellent at something doesn’t happen overnight, it comes with persistence, testing, trial and error and sometimes falling flat on your face. Take a moment to watch this fun video and see how these squirrels are creative and persistent. My science and physics lovers, be sure and watch to the end and be fascinated at the level of agility and talent that these squirrels have…
I hope you enjoyed that video by Mark Rober who should create a Masterclass on how to be persistent. I loved watching the squirrels in the video try again and again, even when they failed. They showed persistence and no setback really made them quit. It was as if they had learned that with persistence their goal would ultimately be reached. That is the key to the power of persistence. Failure is an excellent teacher. It doesn’t mean that we are failure as a person when something doesn’t work, it just means the way were going about a situation wasn’t working. When we step back and look at the lens of how we are viewing ourselves and the task at hand, the task becomes an amazing opportunity.
There Are No Short Cuts to True Success
I had a friend who was recently lamenting that he wasn’t fit enough. He is already in decent shape, but he does’t like to workout. He is often looking for ways that will be a “quick fix” or a “fast track” to success.
Have you ever tried a fast track to success? How successful was it really? Statistics show that people who win the lottery often end up bankrupt: “Nearly one-third of U.S. lottery winners declare bankruptcy, often within just a few years of their big win, according to a study by Wolf Street. After sizable tax obligations, lavish spending decisions and prior monetary commitments to friends, family, or the clerk at the liquor store, winning the lotto is often more of a curse than a blessing.”
Speaking of persistence, when I watched the squirrel video I really admired Mark Rober’s persistence in trying to outfox the squirrels. I wonder why humans aren’t always so persistent in their own goals? I believe that fear of failure is one of the reasons that people hold back on fulfilling their dreams. But failure really is part of the process, and if you aren’t failing often, then you probably aren’t pushing yourself beyond your limits.
Overcoming Challenges Makes Life Meaningful
I was in a yoga class recently and the instructor said, “Challenges make life interesting, overcoming challenges make life meaningful.” That resonated with me because when I win at something challenging the pay off is so much greater! I get a high when I have figured out a complex problem. But when it comes easy, it just isn’t as rewarding. Oprah Winfrey puts it this way, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” So I challenge you to push yourself to new heights and to step into something that is uncomfortable, it might take you a few weeks, like teacher certification, or it might take you two years, but whatever the outcome, there is something to be gained just in moving forward, just in taking on something even if you fail.
Change Is Hard, But it Can Be Beautiful
From ANSPA.org “When the caterpillar is full grown and stops eating, it becomes a pupa. The pupa of butterflies is also called a chrysalis.
Depending on the species, the pupa may suspended under a branch, hidden in leaves or buried underground. The pupa of many moths is protected inside a coccoon of silk.
This stage can last from a few weeks, a month or even longer. Some species have a pupal stage that lasts for two years.
It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes and other parts of the adult butterfly. Many of the original larva cells will provide energy for these growing adult cells.”
The idea of the transition stage lasting from a few weeks up to two years shows you that even in nature for some caterpillars, the process takes longer than others, and that is okay. We all develop and grow at different speeds.
Have you ever really thought about the process that a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly? Imagine living your life as one thing and then suddenly your entire body becomes cocooned inside of a chrysalis and everything but your brain and spinal cord liquifies and then you become something else. A new body, lighter, with wings, and not just any pair of wings, but beautiful wings. That is what a great challenge can do, it can help you take flight. And speaking of flight, have you heard of Icarus and how he flew too close to the sun? Well, that story, according to Seth Godin, was altered to keep people from reaching too high, but, the story often leaves out that Icarus’s dad warned him also not to fly too low. Here is an excerpt from the book description:
Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?
But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.
Take a moment to listen to just a little clip of The Icarus Deception. It’s eye-opening. You can listen to an extended version here.
The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
Be Persistent. Become a Teacher.
If you are passionate about impacting the world around you there are few places where you can influence the future as much as a teacher. Teachers have the ability to build students up and set them on a positive course that can have a ripple effect for future generations.
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