I am lucky enough to have a beautiful wood, Petts Wood, near where I live in Chislehurst, Kent. Yesterday, I took a brief walk and was reminded of two great success lessons.
As I walked along I met up with Sam Pettman, the warden, and Ian who is one of the volunteers who help look after the wood. They were clearing a path way with chain saws. We had a memorable conversation. This is roughly how it went.
I asked them what the little bullet shaped nuts were that had started dropping on my head in some parts of the woods. Ian picked up one from the ground and explained that it was an acorn. He added that the squirrels were chucking them down.
"Deliberately?" I asked. "No", said Ian patiently. "Anyway,the nuts are quite soft."
"They don't feel soft to me," I interrupted.
"They would feel hard if dropped from a tall tree," he conceded.
"Yes," I agreed. "If a baby weighing 16lbs was dropped on your head, you might die!"
"The baby wouldn't be too happy either," commented Sam, "although, on reflection, babies are pretty flexible."
As I walked on, I remembered a great saying from Jimmy Brown, the internet entrepreneur. It went roughly like this:
"If you wanted to get to the top of an oak tree would you start climbing or would you sit on an acorn and wait for it to grow into a tree?"
Too many of us would sit on the acorn and wait for things to happen instead of taking the action that leads to results and to climbing the tree of success.
Many modern self-help gurus stress that action is the number one factor that sorts the men from the boys and the women from the girls. Results follow action not passivity. We should not wait too long before we start taking action.
If we take action, we will often find that the waves part in front of us as when the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea. Robert Ringer, talks in a brilliant article, about a trip to a football match with his son.
He decided on the trip at the last minute and imagined all sorts of problems. He would arrive late, would have parking problems and would end up with a lousy seat far from the field of play.
In spite of all these imaginary obstacles, Robert took action and the Red Sea parted in front of him. He arrived in good time, found a parking space easily and ended up with some seats which were the best in the arena. He had a great day with his son. Action rules!
More memories came to me as I walked past soldiering field where soldiers trained for war. I spotted a sheep that was hobbling along at the rear of the herd. I was reminded of a school trip in the Highlands.
My good friends, Sue and her husband, Trevor, were in the school minibus with me. As we drove along, Sue spotted a sheep that was hobbling along. Being a person of great compassion, Sue immediately asked Trevor to get hold of the sheep so that we could take it to a vet.
Trevor reluctantly climbed out of the minibus and started chasing the sheep through the heather. Trevor is very tall and lanky and a good runner but the lame sheep took off at tremendous speed. Trevor never got close. But the sight of him rushing after the bewildered sheep will stay with me for the rest of my life!
The sheep probably thought it was running for survival. It just shows that if our motivation is strong enough, we can ignore all handicaps and injuries and really get moving. Too often we limp through life when we could be running fast with a fresh breeze in our faces and the heather under our feet.
Let's throw out the excuses and start running as if for our lives. We could also start climbing to reach the golden fleece of success instead of sitting on our backsides waiting for Jason and the Argonauts to bring it to us!