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Puffinus griseus English: A Sooty Shearwater n...

Puffinus griseus English: A Sooty Shearwater near Avila Beach, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The humble little sooty shearwater is the world record holder for the longest annual migration of any bird.

This seabird, with a wingspan of a little more than a metre, breeds on small islands in the South Pacific before setting off on a remarkable journey around the world that has them travelling up to 40,000 miles in a year.

Which leads me to ask, why do birds migrate such long distances?

Of course, the answer is to ensure the survival of the species.

The shearwater finds safe breeding grounds and then pursue rich feeding areas across the oceans before returning again.  If they were to stay in the one spot for too long, they would soon die off.

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The Marmolada glacier

Image via Wikipedia

Wind can be incredibly powerful.

I’ve seen a town a few days after a cyclone has hit and it’s not a pretty sight.

Trees and even many buildings are knocked to the ground or in some cases picked up and transplanted elsewhere.

But the trees grow back, the buildings can be rebuilt and after a few months, there is little evidence of the wind’s power.

Fires are also extremely powerful.

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Sometimes, we wish our spouses would change.

If only they talked nicer, looked at things from our point of view, were more encouraging, showed more affection, spent more time with us or expressed their love for us more often…

Maybe our marriages would be different.

Sometimes, we wish our kids would change.

If only they listened to you, did their homework, finished their chores without complaining, were either a few years older or younger…

Perhaps we would be better parents.

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Coldplay’s song, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall contains the line, “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes.”  Whenever I hear this song, this image comes to mind.

Just imagine sitting high above the ground.

Your hands are on the trapeze bar, with white knuckles and sweaty palms.

You take a few deep breaths before launching yourself, swinging down and accelerating quickly through the air.

You can see the other trapeze bar coming towards you, but at the last second, you decide to stay where you are and hold on to what you know.

You swing back up and as you do so, a voice cries out, “To get to the other trapeze bar, you have to let go of the one you’re on first.”

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Most people like to be comfortable.

We like to stay in our comfort zones.

We have our favourite comfortable chair at home, eat comfort food and drive comfortable, climate-controlled cars.

We want to earn a comfortable living and aspire to a comfortable (preferably early) retirement.

But recently, I’ve realised that comfort isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and it’s become a curse that holds so many people back in this post-industrial age that we live in.

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In her book, Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott tells a story about her brother, whose task it was to rid the backyard of moles.

He tried everything.

He tried filling in their holes, smoking them out with fire and even blowing them up with dynamite.

But it didn’t matter what he tried, they kept coming back.

One day, the brother was at the local store and he saw a man wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words “Mole Exterminator” on the back.

So he introduced himself and asked what the secret was to killing moles.

The mole exterminator smiled and surprised the brother with his response.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

McDonald’s have an interesting strategy when it comes to the ergonomic design of the tables and chairs in their restaurants.

They are strategically designed so that they are comfortable at first, but not if you sit in them for too long.

They want people to feel at home for a while, but not for too long so that they move on and create space for new customers.

I believe that the role of the coach is to be the McDonald’s furniture for the people around us.

It should be OK for people to feel comfortable for a short while, but then to get moving.

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In years gone by, when a new trend started up, it would last for months, perhaps even a few years.

Whether it was a new haircut, fashion style, hobby or style of music, someone would start it up and the rest of us would get the chance to catch up.

Times have changed!

Trends these days can last a matter of hours on Twitter.

And then they’re gone.  Perhaps never to be seen again.

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There are two kinds of people in the world.

Those who read the manual and those who write it.

There are those who look to comply and do what they’re told and those who lead the way, driving change and innovation.

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As I was writing this post, it was a day of celebration in Chile as the first of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for the past 69 days started their gradual ascent to freedom.

It was a long process for them, as the miners could only be released one by one, so the process took a couple of days.

As I reflected on this event, I was reminded of Viktor Frankl’s words when he said, “The last of one’s true freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

As sad as it is that these men were trapped underground in such scary circumstances, it’s even sadder when I come across people who are trapped, not by their physical circumstances, but by their mindsets and attitudes.

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