I’ve been at home for a little while now and every morning it’s become a ritual that I go into our entertainment room and pray before I start my day. The room is enclosed by glass windows which allows me to enjoy the beauty and surroundings outside, but still be protected from the elements if it is cold or windy or rainy. Our dog, Toby, mistakenly thinks that this room is his, because in the colder winter months, he could sleep “inside”. Now that it is warmer, we are trying to get him to sleep outside in his kennel, but he manipulates us and always finds his way back in.
For the longest time, I noticed that each morning there would be a string of birds sitting on the electrical cables that runs across the length of our yard. I always found it strange that there were so many of them. Some were on the cables, others on the roof of our house and other on that of the neighbours. It wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me, why every morning, without fail, these birds flocked to our yard and waited in anticipation to make their next move.
To keep Toby outside during the warmer months, we leave his food and water bowls outside. This hasn’t proven to be effective, but hey, we try.
One morning, I decided that before I pray, I was going to watch these pigeons and try and figure out why so many of them come and visit me each morning. I opened the door and allowed Toby inside as he was giving me such a sad face, I couldn’t get myself to leave him there. Minutes after I let Toby inside, a few of the birds flew down and were now walking around the pool. Toby and I were watching them from the inside and I kept thinking to myself how brave these birds are. They were well aware that there is a big dog on the premises and they were also aware of my presence. A few others even flew straight to Toby’s bowl and proceeded to carry a chunk of his food off with them. The smaller birds couldn’t manage this because the chunk was just too heavy. This explained why almost daily we would notice dog chunks at the bottom of the pool, all mushy and soft. The smaller birds were just not strong enough to carry the chunks away with them and so in their attempt, they dropped them as they flew across the pool.
The birds got me thinking. Some of these birds were really small and I don’t have a bird brain, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they would not be able to carry a dog chuck this size away with them. But they tried anyway. They tried and failed but day after day, they come back into our yard and attempt to feed themselves on my dog’s food.
Some of them were scared. These were the ones that flew down from the cable, but didn’t make it to the bowl. These were the ones who were being cautious. They knew that by walking around the pool, they would have a quick escape, if necessary. They were playing it safe. Weighing up their options.
Some of the birds that flew down and went straight to the bowl of food were successful in their endeavour and flew off with their meal for the day. Given, yes, these were the bigger birds, but it didn’t stop the smaller ones from trying either. The small birds irrespective of their size, saw an opportunity as scary and dangerous as it was and went for it anyway. Some of them were unsuccessful, but others weren’t. They got away with a chunk! I suppose, if you want to fly with the big birds, you got to act like one!
By the time Toby had enough of these birds stealing his food, the ones that had flown straight down to the bowl had escaped already and Toby was left chasing the birds that were walking around the pool. These ones didn’t even make it close enough to smell a chunk, little alone carry one off with them. These birds, although they thought that they were clever in scouting around the pool before they made their big move, they almost never got to the bowl of food. The ones who swooped in as soon as Toby was inside, these are the ones who made off with the prize. They saw their chance and the went for it. They took calculated risks and it was rewarded. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to be in it, to win it!
Birds and humans are so much alike. There are some of us, that although we see an opportunity, we first do the math and when we look again, the opportunity passed us by. In an attempt not to be hurt or disappointed, we gave the matter too much thought and it slipped through our fingers. Then there are others. The ones that just swoop in and land the perfect opportunity. These are the ones who take calculated risks, make a quick decision, and seize the moment.
You see we are all going through life thinking that we have figured out the best way to our success. The best way to be happy. For some, this is waiting for the right moment. Waiting for everything to be perfect. Waiting for all conditions to be clear. But we soon figure out that nothing guarantees a clear path to success. It is in the calculated risks, the quick decisions, the seizing of the moment that leads to success.
If you look around at some of the most successful and happy business people in the world, you see one thing in common. They take risks! They see an opportunity, look at what could go wrong, put measures in place to manage them as best they can and then they go for it! Yes, some decisions have bigger risks than others, but it still boils down to the same thing – courage to take the risk.
There are risks in everything we do. Some risks we don’t even think about, like getting into your car. There is a risk that as soon as you leave your driveway, you could be a fatal accident. But this doesn’t stop you from leaving your house, does it? No, you take the risk and hope that everything will work out and that you will not be an in accident that day.
The sooner we realise that taking a risk is part of life, the better our lives will become. Some of us, including me are so afraid that things will go wrong, that things won’t work out, that the time is not right, that we miss so many wonderful opportunities that life has to offer. Then we sit back and we wonder why other people are living their dreams. They are the ones who take the risks. Even if there is a chance that things can go horribly wrong, those choose to have faith that it will go wonderfully well!
So, stop worrying so much about how things will turn out. Stop worrying that the time isn’t right to go after your dreams. Stop worrying that you might fail at trying something new. Because in the end, all your worrying is doing is stealing your joy, your excitement, your experience, and your life! So, the next time an opportunity comes your way, give it some thought, not too much though and then go for it! Even if you fail, you grew because of the experience. You learnt what not to do and what to do next time. This experience will enrich your life. Because there are no mistakes in life – only lessons!
“What if I fail?” “Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? “ – Author Unknown