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What We Can Learn From Leopards

The natural world shows us countless examples of the need for patience.

Look at the way a leopard stalks its prey. It moves ever nearer, seemingly motionless as it stealthily creeps forward towards it’s prey. 50 metres. 20. 10. Yet still it does not rush. It must wait. Bide it’s time. Move ever closer. 5. Ever closer. 3. Until it’s close enough to pounce.

It’s learnt from its mother to wait for the perfect moment. Never to rush. It learnt through experience. Through trial and error. Through training itself to wait. To realise that it will take as long as it takes. To be patient.

We see examples like this countless times in the natural world, but we seem to think that we are exceptions. That we are in some way special & above the laws of nature.

 Why?

We recognise the physical, the visceral, far better than things that are less tangible.

We are therefore patient with children. With adolescents. We realise that they are growing & developing. And these children & adolescents understand themselves that they are in education to learn, to develop.

Yet, when we reach adulthood, we seem to consider humans ‘complete’. There’s no sense that growth or development is relevant. You are ‘an adult’, considered fully formed.

All that education? That personal growth stuff? No longer relevant. We know it all. We are ready to face & overcome anything.

Thus, when we approach a problem, we think it should be fairly straight-forward. We can just ‘adult’ it and use all of our new-found ‘adult’ powers to just get it done.

So we become impatient. We expect things to be easy. To happen straight away. To just ‘know’ what the answer is.

Which is fundamentally not the case.

The fast-paced digital age doesn’t help.

Nor does the myth of ‘overnight success’ promulgated by the media help dampen the belief that doing big things should happen in an instant; that impatience is, in some form, a legitimate (sometimes admirable) quality to have.

But, at its core, it comes down to an ingrained belief that we are fully formed, that we know it all, that everything should be easy now we’ve ‘grown up’.

 Follow The Process

We fail to recognise that there exists a process. That you strive towards a goal, learning on the way, moving ever closer. Building knowledge to better inform your later decisions.

Things take time. They take energy. They take trial & error.

Great achievements do not happen overnight, but happen in increments.

Great acheivements are merely the overt manifestation of years of persistent hard work. The ‘overnight success’ merely represents the moment people actually stop & take notice of your hard work.

A masterpiece like War & Peace was written over 7 years.

Mozart’s famous compositions were only so great because of the hundreds composed before them, that few ever heard.

That band that has just exploded in popularity? Those musicians likely dedicated years to their trade. Constantly improving. Constantly working hard. Constantly building towards that big break.

So remember the leopard. Remember ‘overnight success’ is a myth. Remember to persist. To stick to the learning process.

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