Fed by Determination
Meet Joe the squirrel. I love Joe, but like all squirrels he has an insatiable appetite. I put up a new bird feeder outside my office to watch the birds while they’re feeding. I take pleasure in this. It must be the Italian mother gene from somewhere in my past.
The feeder I chose is supposed to be squirrel-proof, but not totally trusting that, I put a squirrel guard on the post that holds the feeder. This worked beautifully for about three months.
Then Joe came along.
Obviously, Joe was never meant to win the Darwin Awards. To the contrary, he’s a very determined little guy. Even when the odds were against him he kept trying. I watched his antics from my window and they made me laugh many times.
At first Joe tested the squirrel guard, but he couldn’t get over it. Then he tried jumping from a bush nearby but the branches wouldn’t hold him. He fell many times.
Finally, Joe sat on the ground under the feeder. I imagined him scratching his little head, perplexed… and thinking. As I watched, I couldn’t think of any other way he was going to get up on that feeder. And that day, I was right. Joe left disappointed. It seemed THE FEEDER had won.
The Leap of Faith
The next morning I came to my office to find Joe hanging precariously on the bird feeder. Evidently, Joe has learned the importance of taking a “leap of faith”. He discovered that if he jumped from the ground, which is about 5 feet from the feeder, he would land on top of the feeder. I have no idea how many times he must have missed, but he learned how get on the feeder.
Unfortunately for Joe, he still couldn’t get to the food because the designers of this bird feeder had anticipated the arrival of squirrels just like him. The feeder has a bar that closes automatically when something equal to the weight of a squirrel sits on it.
Did this deter Joe?
NOPE. He kept experimenting, leaning over the side and balancing himself without totally shutting the feeder. After a lot of perseverance, Joe got to the food. I felt like giving him a high five, but I don’t think he’d have let me.
Now most mornings when I come to my office, I look forward to watching Joe eat, which oddly enough I enjoy just as much as watching the birds. I have accepted that my bird food allowance will need to be increased.
Success Starts with Believing
I admired Joe’s persistence and his ability to learn from what didn’t work. Joe was successful because he didn’t give up, even when he appeared to be defeated. He just went back to the “squirrel’s drawing board” and tried a different approach.
We can learn a lot from Joe. I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I’ve given up on something because I didn’t believe I could succeed. I chose to let doubt and fear of failure stop me.
Joe made his choice because of a natural instinct for survival, with no doubt or fear of judgment.
It makes me pause to think that a tiny squirrel whose brain is the weight of 6 grams is more determined than I have been. After all, he figured out how to get food from a bird feeder INVENTED BY HUMANS to prevent him from getting the food.
Given that we have brains that weigh about 1,300 grams and are much more complex, you’d think we could figure out how to let go of our doubts and keep on trying until we ARE successful!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
What about you? How do you deal with doubt or fear of failure?
What helps you to stick with something until you’ve accomplished it?
Have you ever experienced a time when you regretted giving up on something?
Have you ever had an experience where you completed something when you wanted to give up?
Come visit my site on Monday for Story Photo Day. I’ll have a special challenge for you!