“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.”
—Gordon B. Hinckley
I once had a coworker that always came to me and told me inspiring things according to his experiences and his knowledge surrounding certain situations. He was one of those older religious types that loved to drop what he called “Golden Nuggets” on others for their troubles. For those who feel a little uninspired.
He came to tell me the story about “The Eagle and the Chickens”. I’m not sure how the entire thing went and may be missing some parts but this is pretty close to how he told it….
There once was a farmer. He owned a vast field of farmland; complete with horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and crops of all kinds. One day as he ventured out, he stumbled across a baby eagle that had fallen from it’s nest, injuring it’s wing. Once the farmer looked around for it’s home and it’s mother he was unsuccessful. So he decided to take the eagle back with him and give it a home along with his other animals. Placing the baby eagle inside of the cage with his chickens, they thought nothing of it and often ignored the baby eagle while just pecking away at their food and going about their every day lives with the same routine. The eagle eventually grew, becoming stronger and handsome around the other chickens. He eventually inherited their lifestyle…acting as if he were a chicken, clucking like a chicken, even eating like a chicken. One day another farmer came by to purchase some stock and saw the eagle pecking and clucking around the cage like a chicken and pulls him to the side. “Hey, did you know you have an actual EAGLE inside of the cage with your chickens??” He asked him wide eyed and watching the eagle keep his head down and search for feed with the rest of them. “Yeah, I found him out back with a broken wing and ever since then, he’s thought he was a chicken too.” The guy shook his head. “You can’t do that to an eagle. He’s an eagle. He belongs in the skies.” The farmer just laughed and shook his head. “The skies??!! That eagle thinks he’s a chicken. There’s no way you’re going to get him to think differently. He’s been that way his entire life.” The man stepped forward, pulling out his wallet. “I’ll take him too then and I guarantee you that I can get him to be an eagle.” He stated confidently. The farmer chuckled once again. “You’re wasting your time. He was raised as a chicken…he’s a chicken.” The man sadly looked at the eagle. “Well that’s what he’s going to think if he’s never been shown any different. Have you even tried to get him to fly off?” The farmer handed him the eagle in a cage and dusted his hands. “Nope…and I’m pretty sure you won’t either…he’s always going to think he is a chicken.
The man left with the eagle and went straight to work. “Alright now fella, you’re an eagle and goddamn it…you have to show them you’re an eagle.” For a week or so the man was unsuccessful. The eagle just blankly pecked around his yard making clucking sounds and never even attempting to spread his wings although the man never caged him. He was in the same spot for feeding like clockwork every day. The man sighed and decided to take the eagle up to a tree top. The eagle still looked around not knowing what the point was and never took off, even as the man gave him a push, he only lightly spread his wings to sail back to the ground, land safely, and keep clucking away. He did this for days with no change, so carrying the eagle to the roof of his barn, he gave it another shot. The eagle still just sailed back to the ground, clucking around like a chicken. He soon had to return to the farmer for more supplies and he questioned his progress just as he knew he would. “Your old chicken become an eagle yet?” He laughed so hard at his question it caused him to cough and sputter tobacco from his mouth. The man held his head high, “We’re getting there. It will just take some time.” He stated. “Well take all the time you want.” He walked off leaving the man in frustration.
He worked even harder the next few weeks. He took the eagle out everyday to get him to fly and realize that he wasn’t a chicken but he just wouldn’t see it and continued to cluck around like the chicken that he thought he was. The man decided to give up and felt the farmer may be right. Maybe he really would always believe he was a chicken on the inside. He sadly gave up and said he’d let the eagle just live out his days on the ground and tell the farmer he was right. As he watched the eagle cluck around he shook his head and looked into the sky. A huge smile spread across his face and he excitedly woke up the next morning and drove the eagle into the mountains where he knew a few other eagles nested. The eagle clucked around for a moment until he looked out towards the horizon to see a few other eagles as beautiful as he soaring high in the sky. Happily screeching and dipping around and through the mountains majestically. He was amazed and had never seen anything like it. Slowly inching towards the edge he stared and cried out to the them like an actual eagle; growing excited when they cried back. He looked back at the man a final time in appreciation, understanding his determination and his reasoning. The man nodded as the eagle spread his wings wide and took off with the others, never clucking around with his head to the ground another day.
I’m pretty sure you get the moral of the story. The eagle thought he was a chicken because that is all he has known his entire life. They always say “if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, thinks it’s a duck…it’s a duck.” In this case, the eagle was a chicken because he believed he was a chicken and began behaving exactly as he saw fit. The farmer never tried to convince him otherwise either and even promoted the idea that if he felt like he was a gravity bound chicken, then so be it. The eagle never had the opportunity of meeting others like him to know how amazing he could be. He succumbed to his surroundings until someone else came along and made him realize his potential by placing him with those possessing his same potential.
The same goes for us as human beings living day to day. We all have the same 24 hours in our day to do something productive and actually be someone, but we have to first see the potential in ourselves. The possibility that we actually can achieve greater and soar higher if we just believe it and surround ourselves with like minded people. Never make the mistake of becoming comfortable and accepting what the world thinks you are worth! You’ll never know until you try.
Changing Our Momentum One Crown at a Time.” -Robin Chappell