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.
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,
My thought process has been awoken and slightly disturbed with an article I just recently read regarding the detrimental effects of fairy tales and overly predictable Disney films designed for our young children. I assure you, I read the article with an open mind, absorbing all of the criticism and outrage in these films leaving our children with the impression that life is glamorous, full of possibility, limitless, and always ending with a troubled prince and a beautiful princess living happily ever after. Hold on….
These films are being ridiculed because they are opening our children’s eyes to possibility? No, certainly not. Let’s try again, these films are being ridiculed because they give the impression that life ends with a happily ever after?
The first thought that comes into my head is “bah humbug,” but I hesitated in typing that because then, the second thought immediately to follow is: “I wonder how my family’s doing Christmas this year?” But that’s besides the point. If bah humbug doesn’t reflect the disgust I’m feeling, or if it reminds you of an old man being haunted by ghosts, then feel free to insert your own “disgust” phrase, whatever it may be.
The truth of the matter is, is that these films do not portray ONLY positive instances in life, why that would be utterly unrealistic ( a word I absolutely despise, but feel is appropriate here.) In all of them, there’s conflict, and in most, devastating conflict. I think the only negative impression this may leave is the time frame it portrays. I mean come on, the producers have roughly two hours to sum up a story;an adventure. Children may possibly get confused when they enter the real world, only to find that their resolution to the such conflict in their lives may take more than 120 minutes to hit the surface. For the most part, however, it teaches 5 valuable lessons:
1.) Even those with the seemingly most glamorous lifestyles endure conflict and stressful circumstances- You can take two different people, with two very different lives, and both experience an inner conflict that ultimately leads them to an external conflict. Take Ariel and Jasmine for example. From afar, both princesses seem to have everything a little girl could envy. They have royalty, a loving family and friends, but yet both are still unsatisfied and seem untouched by their worldly possessions. This teaches us that happiness does not come from the golds in our pockets, but rather from inside. We cannot truly experience happiness until we follow our passions; our hearts.
2.) Where you begin is not necessarily where you must end- This teaches our children possibility.The best story to reflect this is no other than Cinderella. Dressed in rags and at service to her family, Cinderella, from the outside, seemed only destined for a long life of enslavement. But if you know the story, which you must, Cinderella rises above such miserable torment and becomes of elite status; royalty, all the while maintaining her poise. Dare you tell me that this picture is unrealistic to the real life in which we all have the opportunity to experience. Rags to riches stories are written every second of every day. Possibility- what a fabulous concept to implant into our children.
3.) Looks do not “make” a person- In Beauty and the Beast, Bell falls in love with, what she first proclaims to be ” a monster,” only to find that his heart, encapsulated in anger and resentment, is at the core, genuinely kind. Bell, the beauty of the story, sees past the hairy flesh of this creature, only to recognize and adore the soul within it.
4.) Stepping out of our comfort zone can lead to marvelous things- Yes, OK, I know what you’re thinking. When Jasmine mustered up the courage to jump over the palace walls, she was introduced to an adventure full of adversity and challenge. When Ariel decided to leave her home to seek out the Prince, she fell into a wicked witch’s trap and lost her voice. It seems as though, it would have been much better maintaining the mundane, unsatisfied, status both princesses endured. They may have still been “craving” an adventure, but both would have been comfortably safe. Here’s the thing, it takes courage, and there’s bound to be challenges and trials awaiting your “jump,” but fleeing your box, is the only way happily ever afters are created. Both would have never met their “true loves,” and both would have never been living their dreams. Cinderella, if she would have told the fairy god mother “ eh, that sounds good and all, but the ball is a little outside of my comfort zone," she would have forever been dressed in rags and drenched in misery. Courage, what a valuable lesson.
and last but certainly not least…..
5.) They teach us about life- They teach us that there are people in this world that will bestow horrible behavior upon us, in which we need to watch our backs. They teach us that love is real, valuable, and one of the if not THE most important thing this world has to offer. They teach us that conflict WILL arise, despite our status, but with courage we can face and conquer anything. They teach us hope.They teach us family dynamics. They teach us that a good heart is much more powerful than a cold, wicked one.
And more than anything, they teach us that this life is an adventure and should be viewed precisely as that. That we are our own characters in our own tales, and with courage, we can create the fairy tale we so desire.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe my daughter and I are going to go watch some wildly “unrealistic” Disney Fairy tale :)