I stumbled across this story when I was reading my book, earlier this morning ” Born to Win.” I was so impressed with this parable, that I absolutely had to share.
I hope this story touches you.. and stays with you always, especially in times when you feel completely and utterly lost. Print it out, carry it in your purse, and make sure you have access to it when “emergencies” arrive.
“The Parable of the Eagle”
Once upon a time, while walking through the forest, a certain man found a young eagle.
He took it home and put it in his barnyard where it soon learned to eat chicken feed and to behave
as chickens behave.
One day, a naturalist who was passing by inquired of the owner why it was that an eagle,
the king of all birds, should be confined to live in the barnyard with the chickens.
“Since I have given it chicken feed and trained it to be a chicken, it has never learned to
fly.” replied the owner. “It behaves as chickens behave, so it is no longer an eagle.”
“Still,” insisted the naturalist, “it has the heart of an eagle and can surely be taught to fly.”
After talking it over, the two men agreed to find out whether this was possible. Gently, the
naturalist took the eagle in his arms and said, “You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch
forth your wings and fly.”
The eagle, however, was confused; he did not know who he was, and seeing the chickens
eating their feed, he jumped down to be with them again.
Undismayed, the naturalist took the eagle, on the following day, up on the roof of the
house and urged him again, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” But the eagle
was afraid of his unknown self and world and jumped down once more for the chicken feed.
On the third day, the naturalist rose early and took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high
mountain. There, he held the king of birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying,
“You are an eagle. You belong to the sky as well as the earth. Stretch forth your wings now, and
The eagle looked around, back toward the barnyard and up to the sky. Still he did not fly.
Then the naturalist lifted him straight toward the sun and it happened that the eagle began to
tremble and slowly he stretched his wings. At last, with a triumphant cry, he soared away into the
It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with nostalgia; it may even be that he
occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the
life of a chicken. He was an eagle even though he had been kept and tamed as a chicken,
Just like the eagle, people who have learned to think of themselves as something
they aren’t, can re-decide in favor of their real potential. They can become winners.
Let’s go back down memory lane, shall we?
Let’s recall, for a moment, our childhood. Ah, the simplicity of life! The joys of summer and the adventures on the playground. Things were easy (er). And as contradicting as it sounds, being that we were under “control” by our parents and our school teachers, and pretty much any adult we came in contact with, we felt, more than ever, free.
The most important thing I’d like you to recall, since we’re road tripping and all, is your envisioning; your dreams, your creativity, and your idea of possibility.
Do you remember dreaming without boundaries— anything you wanted to dream about— nothing was too silly, or too far fetched?
Do you remember, ever, wishing for something and then slapping yourself silly in hopes to "wake up" from such a fantasy? Do you remember ever uttering under your breath, “but that will never happen?” If you do, you probably remember this near the ledge of childhood, right before you take the jump into teenage hood or adult hood ( the “fun” ages). Chances are, however, that you don’t remember this, because years ago, when you envisioned the future, nothing was impossible, and reality, quite frankly did not exist.
Oh childhood- full of innocence, full of possibility, and then all of a sudden, this light that we inevitably, all of us, exhibit in our youth begins to fade away. Our dreams, our gift of seeing beauty in everything, dims, and for some, goes away completely.
Well, unbuckle your seat belts “adults,” the trip, a wonderful trip at that, is now over. Back to reality, right? Back to living day to day miserably at a job you can’t stand, merely to survive. This is the real world right? Let us all push those feelings, the ones you just felt reminiscing, back into their hiding places. We are back in the grown up world now.
The grown up world— makes me chuckle.
Now many will argue, ” well, we weren’t old enough back then to understand responsibility or the real world." My response to that? Blah. Another optional response: blaaaaaah, with a disgusted face and mean snarl, and that kind of ” what did you just say” look that people do with their eyebrows.
What real world? We create our own, individual, very unique.. world.
What responsibility? Isn’t neglecting your dreams dismissing our most important, divine, responsibility; living our lives as we wish to live? Isn’t being happy one of the most important responsibilities we can have?
Oh grown ups, mature individuals, I employ you to reconnect with your heart, to reintroduce yourself to your imagination, and to, for the life of you, entertain the thought that you can be, still, whomever and whatever you wish to be. I employ, no I beg this of you.
I beg you to acknowledge that dreams are designed for chasing— that they are worth chasing. And if you cannot do this for yourself, then do it for your children. Your child, entrapped in a beautiful world of magic at the moment, is going to stop playing. They are going to stop dreaming, and one day, they are going to stop believing in themselves, if you, their idol, do not teach them that how they are now, is precisely how they need to remain.
Here’s to teaching our children that dreams are achievable, and that our potential is reachable through following our own ambitions and strengthening ourselves.
Your children replicate your actions, precisely. Surprise! Ok, we all understand that we, being the parentals, are closely examined by the toddler eye. We know this, and although we consciously tell ourselves we’re going to keep the cursing outside the doors and the fighting with our significant others to a minimum, we often forget that it is not only our words that are imprinted on their tiny but oh so significant minds, it is our actions. Our actions, our habits, are what are replicated, and what’s so destructive about this truth is that it is often not noticed until it’s too late.
Habits of course, are built. They are done over and over and over again, until you stop acknowledging that you’re doing them at all! It becomes part of your life, your routine. It becomes part of you. And these things, these habits, are so ingrained in your day that without being aware of what it is you’re actually doing and why, your child is watching all of it, and because they correlate you with “what is right,” They too will begin to act in the very same way.
Now the fact that your children replicate your habits, thus creating their own,does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Habits come in two forms: good and bad. All good habits are created to serve a useful purpose; growth, while all bad do the complete opposite. They are the habits that keep you drifting, that destroy your health, or that produces disdain and resentment with your significant other. These are the “enemy” habits, and unfortunately, your child cannot tell the difference between these destructive, day to day “little” things, and the actions that stimulate growth. It is not their place to differentiate— it is yours.
So the next time you put on your gym shorts and fight the forces of laziness, by doing that “in home” fitness program, ask your tot to join you. Include them in your habit, and make a point to influence the good of it. And on the flip side, the next time you acknowledge yourself doing something for no particular reason, or for a reason that promotes destruction, whether of your heath or your soul, make a conscious decision to replace it with some form of beneficial habit. it will be difficult, and perhaps you may find yourself content with it, but the question you need to ask yourself is whether or not it will benefit your child. Because if it will not benefit them the least bit, or if it will lead to some form of destruction, it is most definitely, time for a change.
Here’s to healthy habits, and the upbringing of a healthy, positive tomorrow.
Give it a try, shall you? I dare you to “affirm” this, for 60 days, every morning. I promise, that if you put your heart into it, you will feel smarter, more confident, more patient, fearless, and more in control than you ever have.
Remember, what you tell yourself “you are…” is precisely who you become.
Affirmations for YOU:
I am smart.
I am confident.
I am not only patient with others, but patient with myself.
I am unafraid.
I am the master of my thoughts, I decide what I dwell on. I decide how I feel.
I am disciplined. I am poised.
Why stop with you? If these things build you up, you can betcha bottom dollar they will build your children up. Insert positive phrases into their head. Tell them what they are, and make them believe.
Affirmations for your CHILDREN:
You are smart.
You are confident.
You are special.
You are important.
You are unafraid.
You are loved.
You are beautiful.
You are extraordinary.
Give it a try. Build yourself up, and then once you understand the power behind it, build up your children.
The truth is, is that somebody…. ( everybody) is going to do the same thing to your children. They are going to tell your child, who they are, what they are capable of, and where they belong in this world. Some will say it bluntly, others will place it in front of them passively. Either way, ensure that you plant seeds inside their head first— the right seeds. Seeds, of great, beautiful things.
So you’re having a stinky day? I understand. I’ve been there… I go there quite often actually, and during the challenges, I have learned a few things that help take the stench away. They are, as follows ( clears throat.)
1.) Pretend as if you’re some super awesome actor/ actress, playing your role… as you: Did you read that right— you’re wondering? Yes, yes you did. I said it, and I meant it. They say, in a lot of inspirational business books, that work, especially, needs to be viewed as a form of “center stage.” You get in there, you put on your “act” and then, when the clock strikes “thank god I’m off" time, you can be you again. Why, I wonder, use this excersise just at work. To me, this helps quite a bit. If you aren’t feeling courageous enough to do a task, or patient enough to endure the temperament of the day, just pretend you do. You’ll be amazed, at how well you not only can fool the world, but yourself.
2.) Force a smile: Got pulled over? Your car run out of gas, or you rip your pants in the office? What do you do? You smile.. that’s what you do. Oh and it’s painful, I will warn you, to enforce yourself to plant a smile on your face despite wanting to cry and run away, but it works… absolutely. They say, that when your face carries a smile, it’s almost impossible to not feel happy. That’s some very strong, serious stuff. Try it out. When life gives you lemons, or a headache… smile about it.
3.) Talk to yourself: I know this sounds a bit strange, but the power of speaking to yourself is enormous. Sometimes, it’s extremely beneficial to calm yourself down merely by conversating with yourself. In Shad Helmstetter’s “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself" it makes an obvious point, that we already talk to ourselves, but rather than pump ourselves up, we all have a detrimental habit of speaking negatively, doing nothing more than bringing ourselves down. This has a huge effect on our subconscious. So next time you’re feeling down or as though you’re about to over react, step away for a while, and give yourself a little pep talk.
4.) Hide: Just go.. hide out somewhere. Hide in your car, hide in your room, hide under your desk… it doesn’t matter, just escape. You don’t look foolish or weak getting away for a couple minutes. You’re merely taking a “time out” to evaluate why your day smells funny. Take a break, and then go at it again.
5.) Read an inspiring book, quote, or magazine: When you’re having a tough time, you’re lacking positive thoughts. The solution: you plant those suckers right in there! Whether it’s a random quote you Google on the internet, or a James Allen book sitting next to your night stand, open it up, and read it. Negative thoughts are like termites, if you do not kill them by spraying positive thoughts on them, they will take over and ultimately destroy you— leading to your demise. Great analogy huh?
Well folks, those are the first five I’d recommend to anyone having a tough time. A few others are : scream, get in your car and drive for 3 hours, do 100 jump and jacks, watch a Disney film, and cry. We’ll touch base on those at a later date. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you take these thoughts along with you as your “Febreeze” to use any time you find your day stinking.
Until next time,