Rabbit, Fish, and Eagle Go to School
It was the first day of school. “What a wonderful time this will be,” thought Rabbit, Fish, and Eagle! Excited to learn new things, they all looked forward to meeting their new classmates and getting started.
The first class of the day was swimming. Fish flashed around the pool; after all, he'd been swimming since he was a baby and loved it! Compared to Fish, Eagle and Rabbit barely moved through the water. The teacher walked up and said, “Amazing job, Fish! You've got an A+ in swimming!
“Rabbit, you got a C. That's not bad, but you‘ve got to work on this.” Shaking her head, she moved on to Eagle. “While you managed to stay afloat, I can only give you a D, below average. I'm sure you can become a great swimmer with enough practice, though.”
Fish was proud; he was the star of the show! Rabbit and Eagle, on the other hand, were a bit depressed. This wasn't a great start.
The next class was running. Rabbit took off like a dart; he loved to run! Eagle hopped way behind him. Fish just flopped around gasping for air and didn't make it very far. Smiling, the teacher exclaimed, “Excellent job, Rabbit! That's an A!”
Looking down her nose at the other two, she said sternly, “Eagle, you've got a lot of work to do. I'm going to give you a D. Fish, I don't even feel like you were trying with all that flopping around! I expected more out of my star pupil; I'm disappointed, please practice!”
The final class was flying. By now, Eagle and Fish were getting pretty discouraged.
Running around, Eagle lept into the air and felt almost like he was getting it but couldn't quite take flight. Rabbit was even worse; he even tried leaping off a nearby rock but hurt his leg as he crashed into the ground. Fish was beside himself; he felt like he couldn't even breathe out of the water and got nowhere. He was trying hard but could tell the teacher was disappointed again.
“That's it for today, though. Go home and practice.” said the teacher.
Unable to fly, run, or swim, Baby Eagle left school feeling very discouraged.
Focusing on Failure
Over the coming months, all three animals worked hardest on those things they had failed on. Rabbit and Eagle got a little better at swimming, and Eagle also got a little better at running. Fish, who started as the star student his first day, sadly seemed to be failing at everything other than swimming.
Eagle finally managed to make it into the air after many falls and even got compliments from the teacher. Even then he knew he wasn't very good, as he was constantly crashing into things and couldn't get very high off the ground like a few of the older kids could. And he still couldn't seem to get the hang of swimming or running.
Determined to improve, they all focused on their weakest classes, Fish & Rabbit spent their time trying to fly, and Eagle spent all his time trying to swim a little faster. Eventually, all three became depressed that they weren't getting anywhere compared to their peers. No longer exciting, they started to hate going to school.
The Motivational Speaker
One day, a motivational speaker came to the school and encouraged everyone to focus on their strengths and do what they love.
Fish and rabbit immediately knew what to do. Fish stopped worrying about running or flying and started focusing on swimming. Soon, he was doing all sorts of amazing tricks in the water! Rabbit focused on running and quickly outpaced all but the fleetest creatures at the school.
Eagle wasn't quite sure what his strengths were. He wasn't very good at anything, and other than eating he wasn't too excited about doing anything. Discouraged, he asked his teacher, “I can't seem to do anything right, what do you think I'm good at?” Surprised, the teacher exclaimed, “Why Eagle, haven't you noticed that you're one of the few in your class who can fly? You have an amazing gift!!!”
Strengths Can Look Like Weaknesses at First
The teacher went on, “We have to teach people lots of things because no one is born being great at much of anything. The only way you know what you're going to be great at is to try many things, practice, and see what you truly enjoy. Some people like Rabbit and Fish know right away what they're good at and love to do. People like you take a little longer to discover their gifts, but I can tell you're going to be an amazing flyer even if you can't see it yet.”
Encouraged by the kind words, yet still wondering if he'd ever get the hang of it, Eagle started practicing flying every chance he got. The crashes became fewer and fewer, and soon, he had that mastered; it was like he was born to fly! He grew to love the feel of the wind whistling past his face as he soared high above everyone else.
Proud of their mastery and finally fully embracing who they were and letting go of being someone else, they all lived happily ever after.
About the Author
Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.
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