Monday, May 17, 2010

The Exotic Animal Story

This story jolted me. I didn't know what hit me. But it launched me into a search for my own direction faster than the other motivational speeches I've heard.

Photo Credit: 'Born to be free' by Catalina Olavarria

Here's the story.

John, a well-to-do adventurer, maintained a personal zoo as his personal passion. The zoo contained all the exotic animals a wild adventurer could ever wish for. Only select friends could come and appreciate these animals with him.

One day, John had a drink with Blake, one of his friends. Blake described to him a wild and exotic animal that he saw in Africa. But the animal was so agile it ran away before he could even aim at it.

Nonetheless Blake was able to take a photo of it.
John could not sleep just thinking about the wild animal. He decided that he just had to have one of it in his zoo. But Blake told him, "Tough luck! That animal could smell you from a mile away and be gone before you even knew it was there."

But John was determined. He also thought he knew exactly how to do it.

At the site where Blake last saw the exotic animal, John laid on the ground some really delicious animal food. Then he waited for hours from a tree top. The exotic animal came, slowly at first, then, realizing there was no danger, gobbled up the food.

The next day, John laid more food on the ground. Again, he waited from a tree top. The animal came, and, this time more confidently, approached the food and gobbled it up.

On the third day, John laid food on the ground and waited at the tree top. This time the animal didn't come alone. It came with a group who confidently walked to the grounds, gobbled up the food and disappeared.

On the fourth day, John did something different. Before laying down the food, he erected a post in one corner. The animals came, unmindful of the post in the corner, gobbled up the food and disappeared.

Each succeeding day, John erected one post before laying down the food. Each day, the animals came and gobbled up the food, unmindful of the posts.

One day, John encircled the area with posts. He then built a fence around it, left a gate open, and then laid down lots of exotic food at the center. The animals lined up through the gate and gobbled up the food.

By the time the animals were about to leave, John had closed the gate. John was able to freely choose the one he wanted before setting the rest free.

End of story.

When I heard the story, I thought the speaker would expound on the ingenuity of John. No, he didn't. He focused on the exotic animals and related it with the lives of those who where listening, including me.

Who's serving exotic food to you right now? Did you ever take time to notice if there are posts being slowly built around you?

So now you see why that jolted me.

What's your answer to the questions?

In the world full of short cuts, fast fixes and instant solutions, sometimes we lose something that is more essential to our beingness -- the ability to chart our own course, the exercise of our own free will. Instead, we let others decide and we just tag along. But oftentimes, these people do not really have our interest in mind.

Can you blame them? Whose responsibility is it to watch after your interests?

How are you doing in your journey?

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