Keeping it all in balance. Often we become passionate over a project or a purpose and lose perspective of other meaningful things in life to the point where the passion evolves into an obsession. It could be the new job, or the next job, the new vehicle, the latest gadgets, or some other material accomplishment. One might work diligently to be able to get “a thing“, so much so that they willingly endure personal sacrifices, trade proper rest, nutrition and overall health for the obsessiosn. If they were only able to conduct an unbiased Return On Investment (ROI), perhaps they would see the impact thier obsession was having.
Consider the story of the three legged chicken:
A man was driving along a rural road one day when he saw a three legged chicken running down the road. He was amused enough to drive along side it for a while, as he was driving he noticed the chicken was running 30 mph.
Pretty fast chicken, he thought, I wonder just how fast it can run. So he sped up and the chicken did too! They were now moving along the road at 45 mph!
The man in the car sped up again, to his surprise the chicken was still running ahead of him at 60 mph!!!
Suddenly the chicken turned off the road and ran down a long driveway leading to a farmhouse. The man followed the chicken to the house and saw a man in the yard with dozens of three legged chickens. The man in the car called out to the farmer “How did you get all these three legged chickens?”
The farmer replied, “I breed ’em. Ya see it’s me, my wife and my son living here and we all like to eat the chicken leg. Since a chicken only has two legs, I started breeding this three legged variety so we could all eat our favorite piece.”
“That’s amazing!” said the driver “How do they taste?”
“Don’t rightly know”, the farmer confessed. “I ain’t caught one yet!”
The story contains moral on several levels, one of which is be careful what you wish for. But a deeper message is an admonishment that when you focus your energy and resources on something, you may end up with a return on your investment that you can’t use.
Perhaps the more important question to ask the farmer is “what are you going to do now?” Everyone who has found themselves in a similar prediciment has wondered the same thing. “Now that I’ve invested so much into this, and it didn’t give me the results I expected, what do I do now?”
Unfortunately the quest for material possessions and positions of prominence aren’t the only types of passions/obsessions we fall prey to. Almost daily the mainstream news media reports the tragic events spurring from failed relationships, whether personal, professional, or business, and growing instances of workplace violence.
It would seem that some pour themselves so completely into a relationship that they confuse who they are with what they do.
Then when the relationship ends, they are left adrift and may find difficulty coping with the change.
So some take-aways from the three legged chicken story include
1. Personally – avoid creating “three legged chickens” in your life, balance is not a noun, its a verb.
2. Professionally – don’t get wrapped up in all the “small stuff”, because in the greater scheme of things, it’s all small stuff.
3. Positively – remember who you are is not defined by what you do.