Feeling the warm sand push up between my toes as a cool salty breeze blows across my face always prompts clear thinking. I am easily hypnotized by the rhythmic waves drumming on the beach.
Stress and coastal processing just can’t coexist in the same mind; my perspective always improves in this setting.
Recently, as my trusty camera and I strolled down the beach, a sudden gathering of pelicans just outside the wave breaks intrigued me. First just a few, then quickly a flock of over 50 formed as pelicans arrived as if one dispatched a frantic invitation with a call to action.
It was mesmerizing to see this somewhat controlled chaos of large birds expand before my eyes.
It became clear rather quickly what the entire ruckus was about; Food.
Have noticed that pelicans are not the most graceful looking birds?
In fact, far from it with large heads and long fat wings. I believe most aeronautical engineers would use the Pelican as an example of what not to do when designing an aircraft for aerobatics.
And yet, they carry themselves with a dignified grace in flight.
What I observed during this frenzy was a different bird than I pictured in the past while watching pelicans sit on piers.
Flying at a good clip, as they spotted a fish for feeding, they abruptly rolled over and dove with impressive speed headfirst into the water from a height of about 15–25 ft.
No hesitation. Total commitment and fully engaged in the task at hand with agility that defies their outward presentation.
And it appeared they were all successful at getting what they had their eye on.
I wonder how long an uncommitted pelican would last.
A pelican that saw what it was he or she needed to go after, but was always wavering just a little bit about taking the plunge. The water is too rough. The fish is too deep. What if it hurts when I dive in? What if I miss?
I believe this pelican would not survive long. Hesitation and missed opportunity would take over.
They would trade the 10 seconds of full commitment needed in exchange for days of hunger and eventual demise.
In our world, can a mere 10 seconds have the same impact? Is it possible that only 10 seconds of response time can upend our entire world?
When driving, milliseconds used incorrectly can ruin our day.
Air traffic controllers must make constant quick decisions or it can ruin lives.
But how does this concept apply to us average people, just trying to make it through the day?
It’s still relevant, and I think our long term happiness and success are dependent on it.
I can think of several examples where hesitation has cost me a job, a relationship, an opportunity.
Somehow, we need to overcome the loss of 10 seconds when it counts.
Visualize the opportunity. Make the informed decision to risk short term failure for the larger opportunity to succeed. Ignore the voice in our head that says we’re not good enough.
Push back against, “I can’t.”
I have many successes in my life. I have many failures as well; but I continue to learn each time that with failure I am just creating a new opportunity to succeed the next try.
The pelicans eat because they never give up. They fly with grace. They don’t care if I look at them as awkward and slow. They fly like eagles anyway.