The man finally catches the lady, they enjoy a moment of sublime bliss, and then, the tiger who was chasing him, devours them both.
In my previous blog we wondered if the man was chasing the lady or running from the tiger. I then proposed that catching the lady without dealing with the tiger first would mean certain death as they would enjoy a moment together, but then both would be caught and devoured by the tiger. This happens because the tiger that pursues us never rests.
Do you think catching the lady is worth being devoured by the tiger? Maybe. But terminal bliss is not what most would chose, understanding that the word terminal is final. I believe we must first face our fears before we chase our dreams.
However, isn’t it possible to chase a dream and actually catch it? It certainly is. But don’t forget what was said in an earlier blog, the fantasy of the conquest is almost always better than the conquest itself. It is the chase that brings the rush. But putting that aside, how can we catch our dream?
We should first make sure our dream is one we can really catch, and is within our capabilities to accomplish? I have one and only one repeating dream. I dream I can fly like superman.
It’s a great dream but not one that is within my capability, no matter how hard I work or how long I try. So, I have learned to just enjoy the dream.
Then we need to decide if our dream is aligned with our mission statement. Would it help reach a life goal? An example, in my own life, is to start a charity to help underprivileged families and especially children. So let’s see if that fits my two criteria. Is it within my capability to accomplish? Yes, I believe it is. Does it support something in my life’s mission? Yes, again. My mission statement is to live such a life that other’s lives are made better by their relationship with me. I think this type of charity would fit well here, so it would be a good dream to pursue.
Am I saying that all dreams must be noble and selfless? No, of course not. It’s okay to reach for a dream that benefits only you. Sometimes it’s good to be selfish. Just don’t make it all the time and don’t be selfish to the extent that others are hurt.
To achieve a dream you must have a plan. Hoping or wishing for your dream to come true is not a plan or strategy. If you do not define and describe your dream, how will you know when you’ve reached it? I like what Stephen Covey says in his Seven Habits book ‘Begin with the end in mind’.
I believe we are all born with natural talent, perhaps a gift from God or the act of providence. It’s much easier to reach your dream if you use some of the talent you were born with. For example, I have no natural talent for opera singing so pursuing that dream might not be wise. Although talent can be nurtured and grow to great heights, it can also wither and die if not fed and watered. It helps if your dream pursuit allows you to use one or more of your talents.
Next you must have the skills to achieve your dream. Although talent is a gift, skill comes only through hard work. The great thing about skills is they can be learned if given time and commitment. I’m not a great runner, but could I learn the skills that allow me to reach a goal of running a marathon? It’s possible.
Finally, we must have the fuel necessary to develop the skill. This fuel could be called energy. Attaining enough fuel might take long hours and very tough practice. Fuel is what we burn on the road to our dream. Although desire lights the match energy keeps the fire burning.
Lastly and most important is execution. Nothing happens until we start something. And starting can be the hardest step.
Taking the first step in your plan takes courage and commitment. It’s your race, what are you waiting for?
Imagine you find yourself in the forest; deep, dark, and dense. You look and listen for things familiar. There is a faint sound in the trees. You sit quietly but you see nothing. All of a sudden, you see the source of the sound. A man is running and running fast. You wonder why.A closer look reveals a possible reason. Running in front of the man is a beautiful lady, long hair falling across her bare shoulders and down to her waist. She glances back, smiles at the man and picks up her pace even more.
Her allusiveness has made him out of breath and needing a rest, but the lady never stops, so the man presses on. The quest to catch the lady has consumed most of his life, but somehow he believes the prize is worth the sacrifice.
But another glance shows the shadow of a third figure. This darkness runs as fast as the man and matches his every step. A little light falls on the shadow and now we know the third figure in the race is a tiger.
His eyes are fixed on the man and his claws dig deep into the Earth as he runs. Never looking left or right, he has but one prey in sight. So what will be the outcome? If the man runs faster, he may catch the lady, but then what? He’s not sure, but he runs all the same. If he slows down he knows he will definitely be caught by the tiger.
So here is the question: Why does the man run? Why do we all run? Are we running from or running to? Is it the prize we seek that makes us run, or the fear of getting overtaken? Most would say the prize, but I disagree. I believe for many, it is the hot breath of the tiger that quickens their pace.
We all recognize the lady. She’s the ribbon for winning the race or the good grade on a test at school. Later, she’s the promotion at work or the bonus for achieving a goal. We know the lady very well, but what about the tiger. Most of the time we’re not sure what the tiger looks like. We would rather not imagine the sharpness of his teeth, but still, we shudder at the thought.
Do we run the race to get the trophy or not to be overtaken by the runners behind us? Do we make good grades in school for our own achievement or to avoid our parents’ disappointment? Do we study hard for the college chemistry to pass or not to fail? Do we marry to be happy or not to be lonely?
I’ve had the good fortune to manage a very large sales force and have always considered myself a leader that motivated others to achieve by painting the dream for them. I was in a meeting with an attorney I admire and trust. He asked, “Do you know why people perform so well in your company? It may be different than you think. They perform because they don’t want to disappoint you.”
I must admit, I was taken aback. But when I think about the man, the lady and the tiger, it makes sense. I have come to believe that most decisions in our personal and business lives are made from fear of loss rather than pursuit of gain. We are running from something rather than running to something.
But is that so bad? Maybe not. Thinking of the tiger’s teeth creates the urgency that may be much greater than the pleasure of the lady’s kiss. Isn’t it results that we desire? Just a thought.