Beavers: What They Can Teach UsAuthor: Byron Pulsifer © 2007
Have you ever had the chance to watch a Beaver at work? Well, if you haven't, you'd be amazed at what they can teach us all about succeeding at a task. Everyone one of us has to accomplish something be that a project at work, a deadline for a paper, changing a complete line of stock by replacing it with seasonal products, and so on. I'm sure there is a task or project that you must complete by a certain time or deadline as you read this article.
A Master At Work
Beavers, whether they know it or not, are masters at setting goals. Their need to set a goal is a life depending task. For some beavers, depending on their location and a local food supply, will find it fairly easy to fell a small tree in a very short space of time. However, this readily abundance of easy food is not always the case.
They may see a tree that is too big to bring down for food all at one time, but do they walk away feeling that there must be an easier source of food? Some may if they can find a smaller tree. But, what if there are no smaller trees available to them?
They know that to eat, they must work. And, sometimes, to eat means taking on the job of felling a very large tree. Here's the point; they never quit, they don't give up. They are determined to bring that tree down even if they have to keep going back for a few more bites over and over again.
I came across this remarkable ability to keep at it no matter how big the tree, or no matter how long it took them one day as I was walking along a small stream on my property. Down near the water's edge, I saw the distinct teeth marks of a beaver on a very large tree. At this time, there were only a few bite marks with a small, insignificant portion of the trunk gone. I couldn't help, at first, think that the beaver had given up and moved to a brand new territory where the trees weren't so big and time consuming to fell. I left convinced the beaver was gone.
A few days later, as was my habit, I walked down to the same spot by the stream. And, much to my surprise, I found the same tree with even more bite marks and another small portion of the trunk gone. Now, I became very curious to see what would happen each day thereafter. Would the beaver continue or reach the point where they finally gave up. Why not? It was a huge tree with a large trunk.
Further up the stream, there were plenty of small trees available. I understood that they would have to build another beaver house, but knowing their skill at constructing a beaver house in a short period of time, I was convinced that this industrious beaver would certainly move up stream.
The next day, I returned to the same spot near the bank of the stream and examined the trunk. Again, there was a series of additional bite marks with another portion of the trunk gone. Now, I won't bore you with my account of this beaver's progress with a day by day account. Let me simply say that after one week of the beaver's determination, the tree was felled.
"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination." Tommy Lasorda
How Does This Relate To You
So what does the activity of the beaver mean to you and me?
Beavers obviously have a clear goal in mind. When they decide to tackle a tree, in this case a large tree, they know that success means that they will have future food from the multitude of branches. They don't focus on the size of the trunk, or on how much effort it will take but, instead, focus on the end result. A beaver clearly understands the importance of setting a goal. But, there's more to it than an ability to set a clear goal.
The more of it is this: when you want to achieve something no matter what it is, setting goals keep you focused on the end result. The beaver's focus was not on how many bites it would take to bring this large tree down. It's focus was seeing the tree fall. Do you see the difference? The action steps that were required by the beaver are clear. Each bite followed by another followed by another and so on. I'm sure there were days when the beaver felt like giving up but the beaver didn't.
Know what you want just like a beaver, and determine where you are today in relation to what you want. Once you know where you are today, set your goals and the actions needed to get it. No matter how many bites you need to take, just like the beaver, continue taking a step at a time until you are finished.
And, this is also very important. Don't be discouraged if you are unable to reach your goal when you thought you should. Or, don't be disillusioned if you encounter and obstacle or what may at first appear to be an obstacle. Realign, or rethink your action plan. Devise an alternate route around the obstacle or issue that appears to have denied your forward progress. If you can't find a solution on your own, find someone that works in a similar area and ask for guidance or suggestions. You may be pleasantly surprised at just how many people will be more than willing to help you out.
Once you have devised a different part of your plan that can eliminate the obstacle, begin again towards achieving your goal or end result.
Stay focused and don't allow distractions to fill your mind or derail you from taking continued action. To stay focused on the end is another key in reaching a goal. There will be many distractions as you continue down the road to success. Your challenge is to reduce these distractions or eliminate them completely. It's easy to let others things in life throw you off, so be aware.
Any unforeseen challenges that crop up are only there to test your resolve on your way to ultimate success in reaching your goal. Just so you know, these challenges do not come as a surprise to anyone who has set out to achieve anything. Any successful person will tell you that they faced challenges, difficulties and roadblocks. If someone ever tells you that you will not experience challenges along the way to whatever it is you want to achieve, they are not telling the truth.
If you need examples of what challenges successful have faced, take some time and read biographies of some famous people that you are aware of. These successful people all faced challenges, some numerous. You can find these kinds of success stories in every area of endeavour; sports, medicine, politics, religion, academia, business, and so on.
"Choosing a goal and sticking to it changes everything." Scott Reed
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"The benefit to setting such small goals and simply building upon them each day is that they not only reinforce your confidence in your abilities, but they actually reward you for every small achievement." John Franz
"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek." Mario Andretti
"Tenacious people don't rely on luck, fate, or destiny for their success. And when conditions become difficult, they keep working." John C. Maxwell
"Persist while others are quitting." William Arthur Ward
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