Birds have been a source of inspiration for people from time immemorial. Despite our progress as a human species, though, birds can still teach us a lot.Birds were the envy of humans for thousands of years for their ability to do something that humans couldn’t do until the end of the 19th century. They could fly and we couldn’t. And it was their ability to fly that gave rise to the expression, “Free as a bird”.
Yes, that was the one thing that drove men crazy over the centuries. Birds could fly yet man couldn’t. Thanks to the Wright brothers and others, though, it became possible for mankind to fly, and we’ve never looked back since.
Despite their ability to fly, birds are nevertheless vulnerable to numerous predators and rely on their own fast reflexes to stay alive.
Every morning when I feed my dogs, I also feed the birds in our garden – pigeons, doves, sparrows and two perky little yellow birds. It seems they keep a close eye on me or recognise my voice because, as soon as I come out and start talking to the dogs in the morning, they arrive as well and perch at a polite (safe) distance while I feed the dogs then scatter the garden bird seed I keep for feeding the birds.
While our gentle, loving Labrador obediently tucks into her food, our cheeky Dachshund (which thinks she’s a Rottweiler) takes great delight in chasing those birds which are brave enough to do a fly-by in anticipation of the coming bird seed.
Once the seed has been scattered and the garden flock feels it’s safe enough to approach, they swoop down to pick and peck to their hearts’ desire, ignoring the Labrador as they have learned she would never harm them. At the slightest sight of the Dachshund, however, they take off. Every now and again, the Dachshund arrives with a dead bird – one that was obviously not fast or observant enough to literally wing it at the first sign of danger.
And that’s what got me thinking ...
I’ve never seen an overweight bird. Literally, they carry no extra weight. And the reason is blindingly obvious. If they were too heavy, they wouldn’t be able to fly. And if they couldn’t fly, they wouldn’t live very long – well, not with our Dachshund around.
So here’s my question to you. If birds are smart enough with their bird brains to carry no extra weight, why is it that we, with all of our intelligence, don’t realise the disadvantages of carrying extra weight?
Now before you interpret that literally and want to attack me for making personal comments about people’s weight, let me hasten to point out that the “extra weight” I’m referring to is the emotional baggage we carry.
How much baggage are you carrying from your past, from last year, from your personal and/or professional relationships, that is going to prevent you from flying this year?
How much baggage will you insist on carrying that will result in your getting caught by some “cheeky Dachshund” that chases you for mere sport?
If you want to fly like you’ve never flown before, if you want to reach heights you’ve only dreamed of, there are certain key things you need to do. You need to focus on your goals, display determination and commitment to working towards them and then do just that – work to achieve those goals. You can‘t afford to allow yourself to be weighed down by unnecessary baggage which might have been important in the past but is actually irrelevant today.
Your family, your country and you, yourself, need you to be on your game this year. So identify – and ditch – the extra baggage you may have been carrying over the past year or decade so that you, too, can fly higher than you’ve ever flown before.
If birds are smart enough to not carry extra weight, why should we? Set yourself free to be the person you were destined to be in 2019 – for yourself, your family, your company, your community and your country!
Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag. He is a recognised authority on leadership skills for the future and teaches experienced business leaders and Millennial managers how to lead with integrity, purpose and agility. In 2018, he was named by US-based web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the "Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter".