Friday, April 22, 2005

Are you a caterpillar or a goldfish?

Ever heard of a "processionary caterpillar"? Processionary caterpillars travel in long, undulating lines, one creature behind the other.

Jean Hanri Fabre, the French entomologist, once led a group of these caterpillars onto the rim of a large flowerpot so that the leader of the procession found himself nose to tail with the last caterpillar in the procession, forming a circle without end or beginning.

Through sheer force of habit and, of course, instinct, the ring of caterpillars circled the flowerpot for seven days and seven nights, until they died from exhaustion and starvation. The sad part is that there was an ample supply of food close at hand and plainly visible.

But it was outside the range of the circle, so the caterpillars continued along the beaten path. Until they died.

That's the first point. The second point is this:

If a goldfish has been in a bowl for at least 30 days, you can put him into a pond and he will continue to swim in the same circle forever. Only in very rare situations will he discover that he's no longer confined by a small glass enclosure. For the most part, he'll sit right there in a gallon or so of water and -- unless food happens to come his way -- he'll die of starvation or a predator. So, here's the kicker for you.

1. First of all, this message is for YOU. Not everyone else reading this. Just YOU.

2. Secondly, for just a moment, consider that your current plan for building your success might not be the best one. In fact, it might be way off base. You might be a processionary caterpillar on the rim of flowerpot....or you might be a goldfish who is bound by invisible borders.

3. Assuming for a moment that either possibility is true...,what would you do to make sure that you don't stay in that situation for another 24 hours?

Regardless of your political affiliation, this quote from Al Gore is one of the best I've seen on this subject:

"In a world of disconcerting change, when large, complex forces threaten
familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impulse is to grab hold of the
tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life.

And never question the possibility that it's not going to be the source of your
salvation..." -- Al Gore

Think about it....

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