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Don’t be like a Canadian Goose

Ian Smith March 24, 2015

Canadian geese are the worst…I mean. Look at them!

Maybe I am being mean and rude to the poor little things…but seriously…I have never seen a Canadian goose do more than poop and make really annoying sounds. And where does that poop end up? Right on the bottom of your shoe. Perfect. Thanks a lot goose.
Canadian geese are the absolute worst. But I digress…


I went on a run the other day because it was the first 70+ degree day of the Columbus, Ohio spring season. And if you know nothing about Ohio seasons…well…we take what we can get. Anyways…I stopped at Goodale Park to take in some sunshine and people watch a bit. I found a nice bench right next to the pond which happened to reek of homelessness and day-old malt liquor. But for some reason I didn’t mind….


As I sat and watched I noticed all of the geese, who were initially scattered about the pond, had started to furiously paddle across the pond. This could only mean one thing…yes, you guessed it. Some old lady had pulled out a loaf of bread and began feeding the geese.


This went on for some time. Until finally, the old lady ran out of bread and then threw up her hands as if to tell the geese “Sorry boys, mama doesn’t have any more goodies for you, you worthless moochers!”


Yet…even though there was no more bread being thrown into the pond, the geese still stayed around where the old lady was seated. 5 minutes turned into 10 minutes turned into 15 minutes and the geese STILL stayed in the same place. Except for one goose….


Only one goose in the entire bunch realized there was no more food to be had. He began to paddle away and as it turns out there was another lady across the pond who had just taken out a fresh loaf of bread from her purse. Which brings me to my point:


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@DesignliCo” suffix=””]We can all learn from dumb geese.[/inlinetweet]


The simple fact is that Canadian geese are not smart and they definitely aren’t wise. Even when there was no more bread crumbs to be had they stayed there and waited…thinking more bread would magically appear.


This was an AHA! moment for me as I realized how many times this same situation happens to us in our own lives.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@DesignliCo” suffix=””]In life there are a lot of things that “feed” us[/inlinetweet]: your marriage, your job, your family, your friends, your girlfriend, your boyfriend and the list goes on! All of these feed us stability and security and enhance our own sense of self-worth. But the sad fact is this: most of us do not have the foresight to detect when one of our feeding troughs is beginning to dry up.


Let’s face it…shit happens. You move to Orlando, FL with your boyfriend to get engaged and he breaks up with you. You graduate college expecting a job and you find out there isn’t one waiting for you. You finally get your dream job but then get canned unexpectedly. While all of these are tragic in their own way, the way you respond is what defines you.


The fact of the matter is if you do not continuously change and adapt to the environment around you life will swallow you up. Even though there was no more bread to be had, the geese still stayed by the old lady waiting for more bread. Only the wise goose had the wherewithal and foresight to know there was no more bread to be had and paddled away to find more bread.

Here are 3 takeaways I have for you:

1. Be “haw”

In the book, Who Moved My Cheese, there is a mouse character named haw. Haw is the hero of the book as he was the only wise one who decided to move on when things were bad. At one point in the book Haw says “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” It makes us uncomfortable to leave the very thing that has been feeding us for so long. It takes guts to work at a startup and leave the comfort of a corporate salary. BUT, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@DesignliCo” suffix=””]what would you do if you were not afraid?[/inlinetweet]

2.Everything is always changing

Change is inevitable. Yet it is the one thing so many of us have trouble swallowing. Whether we realize it or not things are always changing. Each day that passes comes along with change. Sometimes this change is obvious as is the case with switching jobs or launching a new career path. However some of these changes are less obvious and more painful. These changes are the ones our subconscious chooses to shove into a box in the attic of our brains. The changes we don’t want to confront. Be aware of all change; do not be like the Canadian geese.

3. It’s never too late

Even if things are very bad (and I mean…really bad) and you think your opportunity to change course has come and gone, you still have a choice. You can choose to remain where you are or get out and move on.


[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@DesignliCo” suffix=””]So which goose are you?[/inlinetweet] Are you wise enough to read the writing on the wall and know when it is time to move on and find another way to get fed? Can you actually accept that you will be graduating college at some point and should probably start looking for a job? Do you keep your resume up-to-date even after you got your dream job in case you get blindsided?


Do not be foolish. Do not be a Canadian goose. Read the signs and react, adapt and move forward before life gets ahead of you.


In the words of Spencer Johnson:

The sooner you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.

And when all else fails…go get a Chipotle burrito with extra chicken and guacamole.

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